Temporary floating debris boom on the river Demer for a City of Hasselt test case
Floating debris in the waterways is often as good as invisible to the naked eye and, unless trapped and removed, continues to make its way in order to finally end up in the sea.
Around mid-2019, the City of Hasselt – working shoulder to shoulder with VMM (the Flemish Environment Agency) and AQWatt – decided to put up a Bolina Booms’ temporary floating debris boom on the river Demer at Kuringen. Six MDB600 Mobile Debris Booms with a standard length of 3 metres were installed at a 45° angle right in front of the blade of the Dorpsmolen (Village Mill) in Kuringen.
This 18-metre length floating MDB600 boom was left in the water for just 4 weeks, after which the floating debris that had been collected was analysed. Especially the 20 cm thick mixed debris soup consisting of twigs, microplastics, polystyrene beads and such like was simply impossible to remove manually. The bulky waste on the other hand was sorted and carted off to the recycling centre. In doing so, a total of 45 kilos of floating debris was recovered, which included glass, plastic bottles and bottle tops, insulation material, waste wood, etc.
Given that this was at the height of the breeding season, nature was not far off: we even spotted a bird’s nest, built on the floating litter.