Between 500 and 600 people jumped into different water courses in Wallonia for the 11th Big Jump. This is just half of the thousand or so participants Inter-Environnement Wallonie was expecting. But the political director Marie Cors says the weather wasn’t good. There were no incidents to report. The citizen event was organised to help water quality and aquatic life. Marie Cors says the participants were enthusiastic and happy about swimming. “The water was 24 degrees and it was around 18-19 degrees. Once they were in, people were warmer in the water”, she said. The participants jumped from ten places: Genval (Walloon Brabant), Seneffe (Hainaut), Huy (Liège province), Andenne, Wépion, Couvin, Lessive, Han-sur-Lesse (Namur province), Habay-la-Vieille and St-Léger (Luxemburg province). The event also took place all over Europe.
There was a “pre-jump” at Jambes on Thursday, which the Environment Minister Carlo di Antonio attended. Marie Cors said this year was the chance to do a summary, 15 years after the adoption of the Water Directive. Although efforts have been made, particularly in handling waste water, there is still work to do. Inter-Environnement is worried about persistent, bio-cumulative and toxic substances like Mercury, and medical residues in the water.
Although there has been progress thanks to Wallonia, communes also have a role to play. “There are still far too many houses not linked to treatment stations. The result is that dirty water finds its way back into natural water-courses”, she said.