State Secretary Van Veldhoven is stepping up campaign against plastic soup

In order to step up the campaign against plastic soup, State Secretary Stientje van Veldhoven (Infrastructure and Water Management) is going to tackle plastic waste in rivers, in collaboration with Minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen. Ms Van Veldhoven will also significantly raise the standards for plastic waste in the soil.

This is what State Secretary Stientje van Veldhoven (Infrastructure and Water Management) wrote to the House of Representatives last Tuesday. Earlier, the State Secretary had already announced a ban on disposable plastics such as plastic plates, straws, coffee stirrers, and cotton swabs. Furthermore, she has set down agreements with the business community regarding more efficient reuse.

Tighter standards for plastic in soil spoils and dredgings

Ms Van Veldhoven is raising the standards for plastic in soil spoils and dredgings. With effect from 1 January 2019, soil spoils and dredgings may only contain a sporadic amount of plastics. Soil spoils and dredgings are soil that is excavated and used for, e.g., the construction of dykes and roads, increasing the elevation of industrial estates, or shallowing sheets of water. In the Netherlands, the annual volume of such soil being used totals more than 40 million cubic metres. The State Secretary will be amending the Soil Quality Regulations to this end.

“Plastic problem is not going to solve itself”

Ms Van Veldhoven: ‘Plastics have countless practical uses, yet they do not belong in the water or the environment. Plastics take hundreds of years to decay, which means that this problem will not sort itself out. However, it is a problem that all of us have created, and consequently can be resolved if we all join forces. With these measures, we are once more waging war against our plastic problem.’

Tackling plastic waste in rivers

In addition, Ms Van Veldhoven will be tackling the plastic soup in the oceans, together with Minister Van Nieuwenhuizen. Part of this plastic soup is caused by plastic washed along by rivers. Ms Van Nieuwenhuizen: ‘A new strategy to combat plastic waste in rivers will address the problem at the source. We will be mapping out the plastic hotspots, where plastic waste enters the rivers. Once we have identified these hotspots, we will support projects aimed at halting these waste flows.’ The Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management has set aside 5 million euros for this strategy. Wherever possible, the efforts will link up with existing developments and initiatives.