The diplomatic quarrel between Flanders and Zeeland seems to have been settled. The Zeeland deputy Van der Velde says he has had enough commitments from the Flemish Minister that the demands for companies that discharge PFAS will be tightened in the short term.
“We looked each other in the eyes and had a very good conversation,” Van der Velde said after the conversation. The lawsuit that Zeeland wanted to file is now off the job.
The Flemish Minister Demir van Omgeving told the Zeeland deputy the same thing she promised to the Flemish Parliament in July. The PFAS discharge standard in the Scheldewater goes down. But today it became clear that the standard will be tightened as of 1 January and not only as of next July, which was originally mentioned.
This summer, an environmental scandal arose in Belgium when the material PFOS was unearthed in roadworks near the industrial park near Antwerp. PFOS belongs to the PFAS chemical family. PFOS is a harmful substance to health because it cannot be broken down. Concern also arose in Zeeland, because the harmful substances get there via the Scheldt.
soon became clear that the US chemistry group 3M was involved in this case and many more went wrong. Not only did the company have a license to discharge much more PFAS than is allowed in the Netherlands. The company also unleased PFAS substances that it was not licensed at all. It emerged as a scandal with potential major public health consequences in Flanders but also Zeeland.
The province of Zeeland reproses Flanders for not communicating too little about the matter. “I understand the concern in the Netherlands very well. It is the same concern we have here in the Flemings. They also wonder why they are not knowledgeable,” Demir says. It has now been agreed that they will exchange more and better information with each other. “Were good neighbours and I want to keep it that way.”