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Environment

The Netherlands Turned 316 Bus Stops Into Homes for Bees


Why Global Citizens Should Care
Converting bus stop roofs into plant-covered habitats can not only help combat air pollution, a leading cause of death in the Netherlands, but will also help revive two-thirds of the more than 300 endangered bee species in the country. The United Nations’ Global Goals call on countries to reduce all forms of pollution and to support life on land. You can join us in taking action on this issue here.

The bus stops of Utrecht in the Netherlands aren’t just for humans. Bees can now make a stopover at any one of the city’s 316 bus stops whose rooftops have been turned into eco-friendly habitats that support bees and aid biodiversity

Now covered with sedum plants — succulents that can help purify the air — the bus stops attract bees, populations of which have been declining, as well as butterflies. The roofs will also capture fine dust and store rainwater. 

The initiative is part of a broader effort to help purify the air in the Netherlands, where an unhealthy environment, including bad air quality, is one of the leading causes of diseases — second only to smoking.

Honeybees are the world’s most important pollinating agent, but they and many other bee species are declining around the world due to human activities. The diversity and number of wild bee and honeybee species in Holland, the Dutch capital, has increased by 45% since the 2000s. With its new bus rooftops, Utrecht hopes to continue boost its bee population. 

Last year, the Dutch government also introduced a pollinator strategy to revive bee, butterfly, and other insect populations, which are essential for the cultivation of more than 75% of the country’s edible crops.

As part of its plan to become more environmentally friendly, Utrecht is also planning to introduce 55 new electric buses, powered by windmill-generated electricity, and will only operate carbon dioxide-neutral buses by 2028.  

Read More: Global Citizens in the Netherlands Made Waves on World Water Day

Municipal workers are responsible for maintaining the bus stops, which are also outfitted with energy-efficient LED lights and bamboo benches, and will drive from stop to stop in electric vehicles.

The citizens of Utrecht are also urged to transform their own roofs into “green roofs” and can apply for special subsidies to convert them. The city suggests that residents replace their worn out roofs with green roofs instead of getting them refurbished conventionally.

To be eligible for the subsidy, roofs must be larger than 20 square meters. Residents with smaller roofs can apply together with their neighbors to get to reach the 20 square meter minimum.