‘Plastic soup’ in rivers and streams: LIVES project starts cross-border action in Meuse

29 oct 2019

LIVES launched its project with a kick-off event in October in Kerkrade. LIVES tests five different systems which clean waste from the Meuse, aiming to fight the ‘plastic soup’. A definite model will be demonstrated by the end of the year.

Along its course through France, Belgium and The Netherlands, waste from industry, agriculture, shipping and households gets into the Meuse. In the end, it makes its way to the sea, where it causes the ‘plastic soup’. Tests on 62.000 pieces of waste in the Meuse reveal that more than half is found in Limburg. Plastic waste accounts for 84% of the litter in the river.

The Interreg-project LIVES will introduce a ‘waste-catcher’ that will pick litter out of the water. ‘Is a bottle still a bottle once it reaches Rotterdam?’, wonders coordinator Sylvia Spierts in Trouw. ‘You’d better already catch it earlier in the course of the river.’ The Dutch company Noria developed the waste filter. In an interview with newspaper Het Belang van Limburg, owner Rinze de Vries says he expects promising results. ‘In a laboratory test, over 90% of the plastic was removed from the water.’

As rivers do not stop at borders, an international approach is needed to address plastic waste. European legislation on plastic litter is still lacking. Therefore, LIVES brings organisations from Belgium, Germany and The Netherlands together and to raises awareness about the origins of plastic litter.

LIVES (Litter Free Rivers and Streams) is led by Provincie Limburg (NL) and receives support from the European Regional Development Fund.

‘Plastic soup’ in rivers and streams: LIVES project starts cross-border action in Meuse