The war on plastic in Amsterdam’s canals
AMSTERDAM – This city has begun a campaign to ban plastic and other junk from the more than 100 kilometers of canals and waterways lacing its historic heart. The city has committed to increase garbage collection and roped in 12 organizations _ including operators of canal boats and cruise liners _ to raise awareness about the harm that plastic garbage does when it sloshes hither and yon in its storied canals.
City Councillor Carolien Gehrels tells broadcaster NOS: “In the past 10 years, we have done much to clean up the city’s waters. But we want to have the world’s cleanest waters.” Amsterdam’s waterways cover 25% of the city’s territory. Annually, the city dredges 550 tons of garbage from its canals, including between 12,000 and 15,000 bicycles.
Plastic is a key concern. It ends up in rivers and the sea as a plastic ‘soup’ of tiny colorful bits that animals eat or have a degrading effect on nature.
“Our aim is to get out of business,” says Smit.
He plans similar cleanup projects in other cities. Smit has a firm eye on Dutch cities _ Utrecht is a prime candidate _ but also elsewhere. He mentions Venice.