Water & Environment

The Dutch landscape is dominated by water; everywhere you go, you see water. This has become the natural habitat for a diversity of plants and animals. The floodplains along the rivers and the river mouths attract unique species of insects, frogs, fish, and waterbirds. Every year large numbers of migratory water birds pass through the Netherlands, some to stay and some to continue further north or south.

Environmental problems- In the media we hear about dramatic environmental issues: companies illegally dumping toxic waste, oil tankers sinking and losing their cargo, and over-fishing to the point of extinction. Since many people enjoy saltwater fish and are willing to pay a lot of money for it, the North Sea is an intensively fished sea. As a consequence, some species have disappeared and many others have become endangered. Many animals and plants die due to the environmentally-destabilizing influence of humans. In such a small country as the Netherlands, the environment must be treated with the utmost care. Unfortunately, the interests of humans who want places to live, work or enjoy recreation most often trump the importance of protecting our environment. This leads to a clash of interests for all the parties involved.

Some environmental problems, like the processes that enhance climate change, have become so severe that individual countries can no longer solve them on their own. This is why many countries have agreed to cooperate with one another to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gasses. The depletion of the ozone layer and intensified climate changes are two areas that are high on the international agenda. Nevertheless, the leaders of some world powers are more concerned with their own national economy than with global well-being.

In the long term, these responsibilities cannot be ignored. Eventually the consequences of the environmental problems will come to light in our daily lives. For example, when cod starts to disappear from the North Sea, less will be available for fishing. Cod will become more expensive and less people will be able to afford to eat cod. However, there is already a reverse in the negative spiral of over pollution. More and more people and organizations are concerned with environmental problems and efforts are already being initiated to restore and protect our environment.