PFOS has been in the spotlight for a few weeks now. The reason is pollution around the 3M plant in Zwijndrecht and Oosterweelwerf.
CD&V President Joachim Coens suggested this morning on Radio 1 the morning To temporarily suspend work on the Oosterweel call: “First, it must be investigated whether there is a risk to public health. Only then can we move forward.”
It is not appropriate for a CD&V chief to prove within three years that public health is known to be at risk, but no action has been taken. “We hear there are toxicity issues. Let’s investigate. Are these works safe or not?”
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The mayor of Antwerp, Bart de Wever, disagrees. “Stopping the largest mobility, liveability, climate and health project of the century would be a huge mistake for the environment and public health, toxicologists and activist groups agreed.”
De Wever says he is convinced that Oosterweelbouwheer Lantis is managing the PFOS-contaminated soil in the yard with “due diligence” and “the most modern means.” “In addition, thanks to the yard, groundwater is treated and the most polluted species of soil is secured,” he says. “The yard has undergone several rigorous inspections. Even the Green Council in Zwijndrecht expressed satisfaction with this approach in 2019.”
“Everything that is risk-free should simply continue,” answers Egbert Lachart, President of Open Vld. He noted that certain parts of the yard, around the 3M site, had already been closed off for a toxicological survey of the soil. We hope to have the results by mid-July, just before the construction holiday. This way we know how to deal with this further.”
Earlier this week, Flemish Deputy Minister Hilde Krevits and Flemish Minister for Mobility and Public Works Lydia Peters also said that PFOS contamination could delay Oosterweel’s work. “Of course we want to move forward with Ostrowell’s work, but not at the expense of public health,” Peters said. The minister wants to verify in the short term that Oosterweel’s business can continue in a “safe manner”. But this requires more “transparency and clarity” first. Peters has already asked the recently appointed contract holder (Karl Franken, editor) to hire additional toxicologists.
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