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LIVES project combats plastic waste in waterways

The Flanders Environment Agency (VMM) is working with partners from the Netherlands and Germany to combat litter in the Meuse river basin. Together, we are embarking on the Litter Free Rivers and Streams (LIVES) project to reduce plastic waste by 50% by July 2021. Litter traps play an important role in that project.

What and why?

Eight billion kilograms of plastic are transported to the sea via rivers every year: it remains a persistent environmental problem with far-reaching consequences for fauna and flora, the environment, public health and the landscape. Plastic pollution requires a sustainable and cross-border approach.

Purpose of the project

Opruimactie_KessenichBy making more intensive use of litter traps, the VMM and its partners aim to reduce the amount of plastic in the Meuse basin by 50% within two years. In the first phase, we carry out an audit to determine the size, nature and distribution of the waste. In phase two, we develop and promote new trapping techniques and focus on prevention, transportation and recycling of plastic waste. In the third phase, we intend to develop a sustainable preventive approach and lay down policy.

LIVES in Europe

The LIVES project is being carried out within the framework of the Interreg VA programme of the Meuse-Rhine Euroregion, having been allocated 735,300 euros from the European Fund for Regional Development.

Under the leadership of the provincial government of Dutch Limburg, the Flanders Environment Agency is working with Dutch and German partners to find a cross-border solution for the Meuse river basin. The VMM will gather and further develop its expertise in drift waste and harmonise this more effectively with partners in neighbouring regions to ensure a more sustainable approach to the problem of plastic waste.

For further information »

Project partners

Flanders Environment Agency 

Openbare Vlaamse Afvalstoffenmaatschappij

De Vlaamse Waterweg NV

the Netherlands

Provincie Limburg

Waterschap Limburg

Rijkswaterstaat - Ministerie van Infrastructuur en Waterstaat

Zuyd Hogeschool

Open Universiteit 


Wasserverband Eifel-Rur

RWTH Aachen 

Duration: 01/08/2018 - 31/01/2022

Programme: Interreg V Meuse-Rhine Euregion

VMM contributes to the international policymaking and the implementation of environmental obligations.

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Flanders Environment Agency (VMM) covers three main areas: water, air quality and climate (adaptation).