“Your fuel consumer is killing. SUVs and SUVs are a disaster for the climate.” This is written in a note that an Eco Club member left in an SUV with flat tires. The group is mainly active in European countries such as Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Now it’s Holland’s turn. At least two cars had punctured tires in The Hague.
Unloading tires is an act of destruction. This is subject to a maximum penalty of €22,500 or a maximum of two years in prison. If the driver begins driving with flat tires and this results in a life-threatening situation, the maximum penalty is a €90,000 fine or a maximum of fifteen years in prison.
Marielle Hurkmans, owner of De Dames van Hurkmans parking garage, doubts whether a tire extinguisher campaign is of much use for the climate. “SUVs are not polluting, especially as newer models are less harmful to the environment. Old cars pollute more in this case,” she told EditieNL.
In addition, not all drivers immediately realize that their car tires are slowly deflated. “Most cars report when the tire pressure is lower, but not all of them. Then they drive the whole tire to bits.” Annoying, because your tire replacement costs can be as high as five hundred euros, Horkmans knows.
This also carries a risk: “It’s easy to make a steering error if your tires are messy, especially in the city.” That’s why not many people will feel sympathy for the eco-club, you think.
With these types of actions, there is always a risk that the working group will take off, says Jacqueline van Stecklenburg, professor of social change and conflict. “It’s a very fine line: As an entrepreneur, you want attention, but then you have to be in conflict with public order. As a result, people lose empathy.”
Because people themselves are victims of flat tires, there is less support. Stekelenburg compares this to the farmers’ protests. “It was a long campaign where people gradually lost patience. So it was counterproductive.”
Police in The Hague invite you to report vandalism if your tires are emptied by an environmental group. “Then we can identify patterns and possibly conduct further monitoring,” a police spokesperson says.
Marion Walker of Tire Extinguishers says in response to EditieNL:
“Tire extinguishers are now operating in seven countries. We can’t be stopped because anyone anywhere can join in. We won’t stop until we make it impossible to have a 4×4 that consumes a lot of money anywhere in the world. Urban.”
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