July 15, 2020
The petrochemical company Ducor Petrochemicals produces some 9 trillion plastic granules per year in their plant in Rotterdam. The Plastic Soup Foundation (PSF) has established that there is structural pollution from these granules outside the company premises, even after the company announced measures to stop the pollution. As a result, PSF submitted an enforcement request last January.
Two months later, the responsible governmental environmental agency DCMR imposed a penalty of 15.000 euros per established violation. Ducor decided to challenge the penalty by applying for a temporary suspension and entering an objection to the enforcement request. The Raad van Staat, an independent body that advises the Dutch government and parliament on matters regarding legislation and administration, is expected to present their opinion in the coming weeks.
HOW SERIOUS IS THE POLLUTION?
request, and the imposition of penalties, led to a number of large clean-up
actions at the end of April. Specialized extraction units were used to suck up
the granules (also known as nurdles or pellets) from quays and
embankments, amongst others from the “Londenhaven” and from the “Landtong van
Rozenburg” on the Caland canal. The serious nature of the pollution is evident
from a note on Ducor’s website: “In total, 17 big bags of coarse solid
waste were collected, and four bags of plastic granules”.
DUCOR ADVOCATES A BROAD APPROACH
On the one hand, Ducor
claims to be responsible for the pollution, on the other hand they are legally
challenging the penalties and claim to have done nothing wrong. In the
meantime, the company is advocating a wider approach to the problem. According
to an article in Petrochem, they feel that they have been singled
out as a scapegoat.
PSF applauds a broad
approach. The result would be that each and every company producing plastics
needs to work with a closed system for the production, storage and
transshipment of plastic granules, to ensure that they do not end up polluting
Jeroen Dagevos, Head
of Programs for PSF: “Ducor can’t just shift its own responsibility to a shared
responsibility with other companies. The company is and will always remain
responsible for its own pollution”.
Photo: Plastic Soup
YOU CAN ACCESS OUR EARLIER ARTICLES ABOUT DUCOR HERE: