None of Flanders’ waterways meet European standards (regional 194 and local 499) reported the “Het Nieuwsblad” and “De Standaard” newspapers on Monday, based on a report by the Flemish Environmental Agency (Vlaamse Milieu Maatschappij – VMM). European standards take into account both biological factors (the presence of fish, aquatic plants and plankton), and traces of chemicals and pollution. The water quality was allegedly deemed “very poor” in half of the cases, “inadequate” in a third, and “average” in only 16% of cases. Only 20% of rivers in Flanders apparently hit the average.. In total, of the 700 water samples analysed, none met European standards.
Yet, 15 years ago, Europe had set a target that water quality be improve by 2015. Although no European country has been able to meet this deadline, in 2012 the European Environment Agency (AEA) put Belgium at the bottom of the ranking with zero points, along with the Netherlands.
The Walloon Minister for the Environment, Antonio Di Carlo, will be questioned about water quality in the Walloon Region in parliament on Monday afternoon. In the north, the ecologist MP Hermes Sanctorum requested the Flemish government spend more to get, and keep, our waterways clean.