Who can find a solution for removing pellets from the foreshore?

Wednesday 21 08 2019

Plastic pellets – the small granules of plastic that form the raw material in many manufacturing processes – are particularly difficult to clean up when they spill into the environment. Since last year Port of Antwerp has supported "Operation Clean Sweep" aimed at tackling the problem at source. But what about legacy pollution? To remove the pellets Port of Antwerp has issued the "Plastic Challenge" with a prize of 10,000 euros for anyone who comes up with the ideal solution.

Tackling the problem at source


The river Scheldt continuously brings down floating litter which due to tidal action tends to be deposited on a stretch of foreshore known as the Galgeschoor. This unique nature conservation site within the port area is affected by legacy pollution in the form of plastic pellets that are spilled during handling on land or on board ships. Over the years they have accumulated in the layer of vegetation adjoining the foreshore.


In October 2017 Port of Antwerp teamed up with the entire plastics industry to introduce the "Operation Clean Sweep" charter with the objective of zero pellet loss. The participating companies strive to reduce pellet loss to the absolute minimum. Weekly monitoring activities give a better picture of the places where plastic pellets tend to escape, thus enabling the problem to be dealt with at source. But even after implementation of this plan various challenges remain.


But what about the remaining particles?


Port of Antwerp has now issued the "Plastic Challenge" to remove the particles that have become trapped on the Galgeschoor.


The task is not an easy one: the Galgeschoor is a nature conservation area with unique flora and many species of birds, and the plastic particles are frequently trapped in the vegetation or buried under the mud, making them difficult to find and remove. To make things even more complicated the area is kept in constant motion by the tides.


Take part in the Plastic Challenge


Can you think of a good idea? Submit the concept now, and you stand to win the prize of 10,000 euros. You have until 30 September to enter your proposal. If you would like to become more actively involved you can come along to the brainstorming session with experts on 21 September.


A special jury will select the winner on the basis of the most creative, promising and above all feasible proposal. Port of Antwerp will then support the winner in order to put the idea into practice.


More info / submit your proposal here