Thousands of angry Dutch farmers drove their tractors into the highways of The Netherlands towards The Hague, in a national protesting on how the government has largely belittled the role that they have played in promoting trade, yet they are always accused of polluting the environment.
According to a Dutch farmers’ organization, the Netherlands has nearly 54,000 farms with agriculture exports worth some 90.3 billion euros ($98.3 billion) last year.
In a slow procession toward the country’s capital, The Hague, the Dutch farmers caused major traffic chaos and together with bad weather and accidents, spilled over into Tuesday morning, making it one of the busiest resulting in more than 1,000 kilometers traffic jams.
Farmers are protesting in the Netherlands and it is now the biggest traffic jam we've ever seen, thousands of tractors are driving on the highways right now 😂 #boerenprotest is even worldwide trending on twitter right now🚜🚜🚜 pic.twitter.com/mIcWzq3BnS
— Paploo (@Paploo968) October 1, 2019
Protesters said their industry is being unfairly singled out for nitrogen emissions that pollute the environment after a court found the country is in violation of EU emissions rules. Farmers also sought to use the protests to counter stereotypes that paint them as animal abusers and environment polluters.
“We are working for a strong agricultural sector with an eye on a healthy environment,” Agriculture Minister Carola Schouten told the farmers.
The government is tasked with passing popular eco-friendly laws and reduce emissions while at the same time mitigate the negative effects on those who earn their livelihoods in the biggest emissions-producing industries, a dilemma that bore the dispute.
Although the government has not taken any step yet, plans are underway to grant financial aid to farmers who cease their operations or adopt more sustainable agriculture practices and encourage them to reduce the number of live animals they keep.
The authorities in a statement said that the police respect that farmers are standing up for their interest and they are trying to facilitate demonstration as well as possible.