June 19th, 2024

Research: better water quality protection needed

The Environment and Transport Inspectorate (ILT) of the Netherlands has published a signal report stating that better protection of water quality is needed. It argues that licensing, monitoring and enforcement have too little grip on emissions of problem substances, failing to improve water quality sufficiently.

The findings of this report do not surprise us, RIWA-Rhine already showed in September last year that the load of the Rhine is a factor 4-5 above the RIVM guideline value. Recently, RIVM found that the pollution of the Rhine mostly takes place upstream of Lobith. This applies in general to very many pollutants but also to PFAS in particular. RIWA-Rhine is actively seeking out and addressing dischargers and the authorities involved. It strikes us that in terms of licensing, supervision and enforcement, there is still much room for improvement with our eastern neighbours. We recently reiterated this in the International Commission for the Protection of the Rhine. RIWA-Rhine applauds the initiative of the Dutch government to strive for a general European PFAS ban, but until that happens, current discharge practice in Germany and particularly in North Rhine-Westphalia deserves our special attention.