NOS News•today, 08:43
For the 200th time today, a group of activists is at Chemours in Dordrecht. Every week they protest there because the factory emits PFAS and discharges it into the environment. “Our concerns have only increased in recent years.”
Initiator Kees van der Hel was present at all 200 demonstrations, from the very first time in 2016. On the occasion of the anniversary today, he is filling 200 buckets with contaminated soil from the area. His action group ‘Health Before Everything’ empties those buckets on the factory grounds as a protest against pollution.
It started eight years ago with a call from a fellow villager in a local newspaper. It asked for action against DuPont, the predecessor of Chemours. Van der Hel. “He thought that things were happening that were unacceptable and yet were the order of the day. And then I thought: you’re right, things are also happening here that are unacceptable.”
Van der Hel is referring to decades of emissions and discharges of substances that can be harmful to health and the environment.
During the first demonstration in 2016, the promotional feeds were received by Chemours management. “They said: we understand your concerns and will do everything we can to address them.” But those concerns have only increased further. Van der Hel: “It’s going too slowly and too little is happening.”
What has now happened: a lawsuit against the company. In that case, the judge ruled in an interim judgment that Chemours is partly liable for damage suffered by municipalities around the factory due to pollution with PFAS.
In addition, a criminal investigation is ongoing following the report by lawyer Bénédicte Ficq on behalf of approximately 3,600 people. It is still unclear whether the judiciary will prosecute the company and its executives.
Van der Hel plans to continue the weekly protests until the factory stops polluting completely. The measures that the company has taken so far to become cleaner are insufficient for the action group. Next Saturday they will be there for the 201st time.