Tuesday’s high temperatures have prompted health institute RIVM to issue a nationwide smog alarm, warning people with respiratory problems to stay at home.
The air quality in the country is expected to be ‘very bad’, the RIVM said. Heavy physical work is to be avoided, particularly in the afternoon and early evening when air pollution peaks.
Smog concentrations will be lower on Wednesday, the RIVM said, which means there will be a smog warning instead of an alarm.
A decision by Albert Heijn to stop delivering groceries after 2pm because the bad air quality could affect staff’s health has provoked criticism and support, the Telegraaf reported. Reactions on social media range from cries of ‘exaggeration’ from disappointed customers to applause for Albert Heijn’s efforts to protect its workers.
Employers have a legal duty to protect workers from overheating, depending on the type of work they do. People who work outside, such as construction workers, have a number of measures in place to protect them from the effects of overheating.
Meanwhile, a number of die-hard four day march fans ignored warnings not to walk the first stage of the annual Nijmegen event and set off anyway. The organisation said the 38 degree heat would not be safe and cancelled the first day. Most started in the early hours, local paper de Gelderlander reported .
One of the walkers, 70-year-old Pieter from Berg en Dal said he had ‘prepared himself for the heat’, and was determined to walk the full four days.
The RIVM national heatwave plan, which warns care professionals, organisations and volunteers to take extra care of vulnerable groups, will remain in place for as long as smog levels remain high.
The KNMI weather bureau has issued a code orange weather warning for Tuesday afternoon but forecast cloudy skies and thunderstorms for Wednesday. Temperatures are expected to go up again at the weekend.
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