ROTTERDAM/ANTWERP - What is the environmental and health impact of air pollution caused by the (petro)chemical industry in the ports of Antwerp and Rotterdam?

For the first time ever, Apache and Follow the Money show that this damage amounts to billions of euros. Using official figures on the emission and transfer of pollutants from large industrial facilities, we’ve determined a societal cost of between 1,3 billion and 3,9 billion euros in Rotterdam, and between 1,2 billion euros and 3,3 billion euros in Antwerp. 

But these figures inevitably underestimate reality, as not all companies have an obligation to report their emissions, and not all substances of concern are taken into account. In the coming months, Follow the Money and Apache will take a closer look at the emissions of the (petro)chemical industries in the ports of Rotterdam and Antwerp. 

In the first part of this extensive investigation, we reveal how harmful these emissions from the chemical industry are to public health.

Photo: Peter Lipton

Team members

Mira Sys

Mira Sys (1995) is working for Follow the Money for over five years now.

Mira Sys

Steven Vanden Bussche

Steven Vanden Bussche (1979) is an investigative journalist at Apache.

Steven Vanden Bussche

Esmeralda Borgo

Esmeralda Borgo is a freelance investigative journalist.

Tom Cochez

Tom Cochez is a Belgian investigative journalist.

Jan Daalder

Jan Daalder (1996) has been working for Follow the Money since 2022.

Jan Daalder

Tom Claessens

Tom Claessens (1993) is part of Follow the Money since 2020.

Tom Claessens


Apache is a Belgian platform for investigative journalism, in-depth reporting, and analysis. 

Follow the Money

Follow the Money is a platform for radically independent investigative journalism.

Follow the Money
LOCAL/2022/012: €4.000 on 30/09/2022 CBL/2022/016: €22.600 on 26/09/2022 LOCAL/2023/016: €9.900 on 20/02/2023 ENV1/2023/177 €38.000 on 09/02/2023
ENV1/2023/177 CBL/2022/016, LOCAL/2023/016 & LOCAL/2022/012



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