In May 2016 Waste Free Waters celebrated her 5th birthday. In these 5 years a lot of progress has been made. When we started, nothing was known about riverine litter and Waste Free Waters just took a pragmatic approach by just beginning. With the help of PlasticsEurope, Chemelot and my former employer Zuyd University we started to unveil the presence of litter in a river and we learned a lot about the way litter is transported . This story can be read in the earlier blogs.
Now, 5 years later, Waste Free Waters can look back on some remarkable achievements:
- A method has been developed to sample rivers on the presence of litter. We now understand how to measure the amount of macrolitter floating on the surface and in the watercolumn. How particles with different nature, sizes and shapes behave in different riverine conditions. We know the relation with environmental conditions like season, precipitation and riverine morphology. The developed method is simple and easy to reproduce.
- Waste Free Waters is a recognized expert on riverine litter in national and international fora. A number of visits have been made to discussions within the European Technical Group Marine Litter on the issue of land based sources of Marine Litter. We are now discussing a “Riverine Litter Monitoring Guidance”, a document that must lay a foundation for a Europe-wide monitoring network of rivers entering the European Seas. The expertise of Waste Free Waters, also gained in the European assignment to sample in 4 major European rivers, is of great value here.
- The Schone Maas project (Clean Meuse project), which was inspired by Waste Free Waters in 2012 has become very successful. Now all the Limburg municipalities cooperate in yearly river bank cleanups and the project has started to spread to the rest of the Netherlands and Belgium.
- A visit to Indonesia and Japan as a consultant for “The OceanCleanup” has triggered some interesting ideas to develop the “mini-Plastic-to Fuel” technology for small communities in developing countries. Anywhere in the world the problem of riverine litter is equal in its technical nature, but completely different in scale and societal circumstances. Waste Free waters has developed a unique position to identify the common characteristics of the riverine litter problem worldwide and to target potentially feasible solutions.
For the next 5 years the following strategic directions are relevant:
- Further development of riverine sampling techniques and methodologies. Waste Free Waters now knows how to sample the presence of litter in rivers. For the near future a new sampling vessel is required. This is necessary because it is a vital contribution to the rapidly developing technique of monitoring riverine litter with camera’s from bridges. Calibrating the specific camera results of the larger floating fraction to the whole spectrum of transported litter is what Waste Free Waters can add here.
- Development of mini Plastic-to-Fuel equipment for developing countries. Developing countries contribute heavily to marine litter because a comprehensive waste management infrastructure is lacking. Mega cities require mega facilities, but the pressure on these cities, mostly downstream of rivers, can be released by solutions aimed at small communities far upstream or in more remote locations. Normal technical solutions here are mostly difficult to apply because of lacking technical infrastructure or an economical deficit. Transportation costs mostly block the economic feasibility, so a strictly local solution should be found where economic fluctuations have no impact. These kind of installations can be built, but some developments are needed to make them technically and economically robust in these conditions.
Why do we need support?
Waste Free Waters is the most minimalistic foundation you can imagine. As a retired professional the costs for the activities of the Foundation are just travel expenses and the costs for some equipment like a computer and printer, maintenance for the camper and trailer and for networking and communication. No salary costs and only very limited overhead costs. But both projects, the new sampler and the mini Plastic-to-Waste installation, need funding and sponsoring.
To secure the activities of Waste Free Waters for the coming years, an amount of € 10.000 is needed to cover the overhead costs.
The development and construction of the new sampler will cost € 75.000 and the development, construction, testing and (Indonesian) introduction of the mini Plastic-to-Fuel installation will take around € 50.000.
How can you contribute?
Waste Free Waters is a recognized non-profit foundation with ANBI-status. You can contribute with any donation and you can use the following account number:
Waste Free Waters Foundation
account nr: NL64 ABNA 0554 1070 58
BIC code: ABNANL2A
and use the reference: “Donation”
or use this link:
If you want personal contact:
Waste Free Waters is totally open to discuss our insights and experiences and to share it with anyone who deals with the problem of riverine litter. Transparency and open communication can only bring us all further in understanding the problem of riverine litter and will lead to solutions for this enormous worldwide problem.
For contact you have the following options:
phone: +31 (0) 653693382
Facebookpage Waste Free Waters Foundation:
Personal facebookpage Gijsbert Tweehuysen: