English summary

The Eastern Scheldt Estuary Foundation is committed to protecting the marine environment of the Dutch Eastern Scheldt Estuary. The Eastern Scheldt Estuary Foundation is focusing on the
- abolishing of the use of steel slag;
- preservation of the unique underwater flora and fauna;
- elimination of harmful toxic materials;
- conservation of the cultural and natural values of the dykes along the estuary
- establishing of refugia (small marine reserves) to preserve the biodiversity.

The Eastern Scheldt Estuary Foundation was founded in 2009 in reaction to large scale plans for the strengthening and consolidation of the seaward foot of the dykes along the Eastern Scheldt Estuary.
Rijkswaterstaat (the executive arm of the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment) reinforced the dykes by using huge quantities of steel slag a waste product from steel production. By doing so the underwater life was wiped out and the sea floor changed dramatically. Above all scientists warned that steel slag contains heavy metals and other toxins that are harmful to the marine environment. Ecologists pointed out that these metals and toxins accumulate in the tissues of marine animals. Furthermore there appeared to be no real attempts for long term study, monitoring and research in order to exclude any negative impact of the use of steel slag.

Current situation
Due to the increasing pressure of the Eastern Scheldt Estuary Foundation and other ngo’s Rijkswaterstaat started a project for seafloor habitat recovery. At two different dump sites they deposited large boulders on top of the layers of steel slag. By doing so two artificial “eco-reefs” were created.
In the near future more dykes will be reinforced by using steel slag. We urge Rijkswaterstaat to respect our marine habitats. We call upon Rijkswaterstaat to abolish the use of steel slag and replace it by natural materials. We plead for seafloor habitat recovery at every dump site.

Other actions
We strongly recommend the establishing of refugia (small marine reserves) to preserve the biodiversity in the Eastern Scheldt Estuary. Especially during the breeding season of key marine species like the cuttlefish and the the seahorse.

What you can do?
Support our actions and donate
Thank you, Freek Titselaar secretary Sdo-Foundation