Freedom of Information request
In November 2019, in line with the Freedom of Information Act, Plastic Soup Foundation submitted a request to DCMR, the joint environmental protection agency of the province of South Holland, and to 15 municipalities in the Rijnmond region. DCMR monitors 26,000 companies and checks companies for compliance. It is also commissioned by municipalities, the province and the central government to issue the necessary environmental permits.
The purpose of the request was to get an insight into the environmental permit of the plastic manufacturer Ducor Petrochemicals in the Botlek industrial area of Rotterdam and into the degree of monitoring and enforcement by DCMR, the environmental protection agency. Plastic Soup Foundation requested various documents such as any correspondence between DCMR and Ducor, reports of on-site checks, and any decisions or warnings related to Ducor.
The reason that Ducor was selected as the first company was related, firstly, to the thick carpet of nurdles on the embankment of Londenhaven dock, located close by, caused by years of pollution, and secondly, to its proximity to the North Sea. Many of the nurdles that flow from the factory into the harbour quickly end up in the North Sea and are never cleaned up. Our research showed enormous quantities of plastic granules at several places along the Caland Canal, the last leg of their journey to sea.