On Thursday 20 January 2022, more than 100 participants from The Netherlands, Germany and Belgium participated in the final conference of the Interreg V-A project Litter Free Rivers and Streams (LIVES). Water managers as well as knowledge institutions and civil society organisations, together they want to stop plastic pollution. Over the past 3 years, the Interreg V-A project LIVES has focused on reducing plastic waste in the Meuse and its tributaries in the Meuse river basin within the Euregio Meuse-Rhine.
Global problem requiring cross-border cooperation
Floating litter is a global problem with huge impact in many areas: damage to our environment and danger to human health, biodiversity, shipping and the landscape. Plastic pollution in the waterways requires a sustainable and cross-border approach that prevents plastics from flowing to the sea or precipitating in the river and its floodplains. Working together to tackle waste in the Meuse. Over the past 3 years, the Interreg V-A project LIVES has focused on reducing plastic waste in the Meuse and its tributaries in the Meuse river basin within the Euregio Meuse-Rhine. During the final conference on 20 January 2022, the results of the project were presented. Clean-up actions, monitoring, pilot projects with plastic littertraps. All inspiring results! Everyone is aware that plastic pollution in rivers and canals is a major problem.
Partners have already worked together, including across borders. During the implementation of LIVES, however, the importance of this cross-border cooperation has been reinforced, especially after the high tide of July 2021. “Together with the Dutch and German colleagues, we worked on a litter-free Meuse within the LIVES ‘Litter Free Rivers and Streams’ project. In this way, we want to put an end to the plastic that is transported to the sea via our rivers and canals,” emphasizes Flemish Minister of Mobility and Public Works Lydia Peeters. “We can only solve this cross-border problem by joining forces in the Euregio Meuse-Rhine. Because water knows no boundaries.” Joachim Reichert, CEO of Wasserverband Eifel Rur: “Cooperation at all levels is essential from the municipal level to the European level. It is very important that you start combating plastic waste in waterways at the capillaries of a river basin.” Dutch deputy of the Province of Limburg Lia Roefs agreed: “It is great to see that an original Limburg initiative to remove waste on the banks of the Meuse leads to a national and now also euregional cooperation in which everyone gives their input!”
The fleet is on the move
Thanks to the LIVES project, awareness of the litter problem has undoubtedly increased. The organizations have gotten to know each other better and solutions are being sought together. In addition, a broad international network has been developed, and the cooperation between the partners will continue in the coming years and to stop plastic pollution. This was confirmed during the final conference by signing a joint statement for a Clean Meuse. “We started as boats on dry land and Interreg LIVES project has now created a euregional armada that moves together towards the port: a plastic-free Meuse basin. It is important to continue sailing and occasionally visit a port together to exchange experiences so the fleet can continue its steady joint course”, concludes project manager of LIVES Ms. Sylvia Spierts-Brouwer, Province of Limburg (NL).
The results of the LIVES project have also been incorporated in this final brochure.
Missed the conference? No problem. You can watch it here!
For additional information about the project and the results, please contact the LIVES project manager Mw. Sylvia Spierts-Brouwer: [email protected] / 0031-6-15529163.