Growers talk about illegal discharging in the Netherlands

"A real grower doesn't pollute"

Recently a grower was taken to court by the Delfland Water Board for discharging dirty water into the surface water of the Hoefpolder in De Lier (Netherlands). Despite being illegal, discharges still occur, as it turns out. Fellow growers are disappointed: "Discharging is just stupid, you just don't want that as a company."

The reaction by the Delfland Water Board can count on sympathy among other growers in De Lier. The word 'idiot' is apt here, according to the growers. "As growers, we are all working hard to use our water in a circular way and to adhere to the ever stricter rules. It's frustrating then when there is one individual who thinks he has to discharge. This means that the greenhouse horticulture sector immediately gets back into the news again."

Discharging isn't necessary
Whether the discharges were done consciously or not, the Water Board could not yet say, also for legal reasons. According to other growers, it is very easy not to discharge, although they of course don't know what kind of emergency the grower in question might have. "Actually, it's been coming for ten years and so, even as a smaller grower without huge budgets, you can meet these requirements step by step. And otherwise you just have to stop growing. There are also some who have done that, growers who did not want all these rules."

The growers are now seeing a lot of enforcement. "We don't discharge, but if you do, you are guaranteed to be caught. That's good too. Just like speeding often, you will automatically get sick of the fines."

Plant protection products
In the meantime, the discussion about crop protection agents is also revived by these kinds of headlines. Of course, the resources should not end up in the surface water, but they are really needed, say the growers. "I prefer to call it correction measures," explains a grower. "Some resources are simply needed to, for example, correct a problem in a few paths or to tackle a corner in the greenhouse."

The Water Board is just as unhappy as the growers with the incident. Especially now that the area is in the aftercare phase and the Water Board is working together with the growers on clean water. "We hope that business owners themselves say that they just don't want this anymore."

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