Apart from our research in the Rotterdam region, we also looked at the province of Limburg and the Port of Antwerp. Chemelot, the large conglomerate of chemical industries in South Limburg, is at the top of our list. The plastic manufacturers there handle the materials so carelessly that in some places it looks like it has hailed.
In April 2020 our lawyer Faton Bajrami contacted the environmental protection agency of South Limburg, the RUD, which immediately took action against the plastic pollution at Chemelot.
That said, even Chemelot’s eyes are starting to open and discussions have started. The management of Chemelot Site Permit, the holder of the environmental permit for the Chemelot industrial zone, finally signed the Operation Clean Sweep covenant in July 2020. In doing so, the industrial zone commits to the goal of producing zero plastic granules, flakes and powder emission into the environment. It also voiced its goal of not only being the ‘most competitive chemical site in West Europe’ by 2025, but also the ‘safest and the most sustainable’.
A compressed air cleaning unit has also been installed, regular sweeping is done, the verges are cleaned, and on 27 October 2020, a meeting was held on the theme ‘Collaborating throughout the production chain to prevent plastic products from entering the environment’ to which Plastic Soup Foundation was also invited.
All this was part of the agreement with the RUD. If, however, Chemelot should fail to reach the agreed timeframe or comply with parts of the plan, the environmental agency would definitely consider using administrative legal tools. And should the RUD fail to act, Plastic Soup Foundation has the option to file another enforcement request.