Much ado about canoes: Leiden environmental group may soon need to abandon ship

non-profit organisation, international publications, @Plastic_spotter, July 13, 2021, NPO 1 Radio, @GemeenteLeiden, July 14, 2021, a solution

The offending canoes on the Oude Vest. Photo: Brandon Hartley

They’ve grappled with everything from cigarette butts to sunken traffic dividers, tackled an increasing amount of trash from the pandemic, and dodged the occasional angry duck. Now the Plastic Spotters are facing their greatest adversary to date: local council bureaucracy.

The non-profit organisation is devoted to removing plastic and other refuse from the canals of Leiden in addition to studying their impact on local wildlife. Since being founded in 2019, the group has assembled over 400 volunteers, earned headlines in international publications including The Guardian and National Geographic, and become a national leader in the fight to keep trash out of the country’s waterways.

But these accomplishments weren’t enough to discourage local officials from slapping their canoes with an eviction notice.

Two weeks notice

Co-founder Auke-Florian Hiemstra announced on Twitter on Tuesday that Plastic Spotter’s fleet of six canoes, which have been moored along Leiden’s Oude Vest canal since early 2020, would need to be relocated within two weeks because they didn’t have permits. Unbeknownst to him and his fellow volunteers, they didn’t even know they needed permits until recently.

Plots gebeld door handhaving: “Binnen 2 weken moeten ze uit de gracht zijn”. De @Plastic_spotter clean-up kano’s die al jaren de Leidse gracht wekelijks opschonen moeten weg. Wij en onze 400+ vrijwilligers snappen niet wat er gebeurt. “We doen toch iets goeds voor de stad?” 1/9 pic.twitter.com/K9Nd0u7g45

— Auke-Florian (@AukeFlorian) July 13, 2021

Their canoes had also been dubbed ‘pleasure crafts’ instead of small boats used to fish face masks, fast food containers, and other garbage out of the canals. Worse yet, the current waiting list for permits in Leiden currently has over 1,000 names on it. During a recent meeting with the group, one local official suggested moving the canoes to Hiemstra’s garden (his home doesn’t actually have one) or a storage facility outside the city.

Outrage on social media

Hiemstra’s tweets went viral overnight. They sparked an immediate response among not just the group’s volunteers, but everyone from politicians and poets to celebrities and environmental groups scattered around the country, many of whom were quick to critique the decision as an example of Dutch bureaucracy at its worst. On Wednesday, Hiemstra discussed the situation in interviews with media organisations including NPO 1 Radio.

‘If we don’t get an exemption, we will have to move the canoes to the other side of the city,’ said Plastic Spotter co-founder Liselotte Rambonnet. ‘We would have our equipment on one side of Leiden and our boats on another. It would be almost impossible to go out with our volunteers in them.’

Wat een verhaal! Dit is toch te gek, Auke! @GemeenteLeiden handhaaft willekeurig. Zo ligt er op de Maresingel een boot al 4 jaar zonder vergunning. pic.twitter.com/8y1HaDJiJu

— Geert Crielaard (@crielaardgeert) July 14, 2021

Leiden residents, meanwhile, shared social media posts noting the number of empty mooring spots around the city. Others uploaded photos of neglected boats, one of which has a permit that expired back in 2017. Others expressed concerns over officials targeting a volunteer environmental group instead of tackling other problems like overflowing rubbish containers that typically cause trash to fall into the canals in the first place.

A possible change of heart?

A city council meeting on Tuesday night may have resulted in a solution that will let the canoes keep their current home. Members of pro-animal De Partij voor de Dieren called on alderman Yvonne van Delft to figure out a workaround. A ‘hardship clause’ in current regulations may give the Plastic Spotters an exemption.

‘Van Delft has said she wants to do her best to make something happen regarding the policies and change them for special initiatives like ours,’ said Rambonnet. ‘At the moment, that isn’t possible with the current policies.’

Local officials are currently scheduled to take a vote on whether or not the canoes must be removed during a meeting on Thursday night. Even if an exemption is made or if current policies are modified, it could be several more weeks until all the paperwork is completed and they’re officially allowed to stay put.

‘We won’t believe it until the permit stickers are on the canoes,’ Rambonnet said.

News Related

OTHER NEWS

Russian Justice Ministry yet to receive request to transfer Whelan to US

The agency stressed that when these documents are delivered, the Russian penitentiary service will prepare materials required to consider this case Read more »

Why cinematographers say locations in Murmansk Region are filmmakers' paradise

For moviemakers the Polar Region is the place, where they may find whatever they may need, leader of the regional center for cinematography development Svetlana Soldatova noted Read more »

Moscow didn't know Russian national Franchetti was put on wanted list — source

According to Czech police sources, on Sunday, Russian citizen Alexander Franchetti was detained at Prague’s international airport because he was apprehended on an international arrest warrant issued by Ukraine Read more »

「論破」はこれからの社会にマッチしない?議論するときに大切な "思考" に納得

© All About Navi, Inc. All Rights Reserved. SNSで盛り上がった選りすぐりのネタを紹介するcitrus。 山野 弘樹 / Hiroki YAMANO(@Ricoeur1913)さんの投稿が話題になっています。 「論破できる人カッコいい」っていう風潮があると思うのですが、相手の議論の弱点を突いて自分の(一時的な)優位を示す「論破的思考」よりも、互いの議論の穴を補い合うことで、新しい洞察を共に獲得できるような「対話的思考」の方がよほど建設的だし、これからの社会にもマッチしている気がします。 — 山野 弘樹 / Hiroki YAMANO (@Ricoeur1913) July 13, 2021 論破って、別にできてもカッコよくはないですよね。 大事なのは、悪い点を指摘した “後” の話し合いですね。 その通りでございます ... Read more »

Sixers Player Profile: Matisse Thybulle

© Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images Over the next few weeks, we’ll be profiling every player currently on the Sixers’ roster ahead of training camp, which begins on ... Read more »

Russia appeals to Prague over detention of its national Franchetti — spokesperson

Spokesperson for the Investigative Committee emphasized that Russia guaranteed its citizens protection and patronage outside its borders in line with the country’s Constitution Read more »

Russia sees record high of 563,803 active COVID-19 cases, crisis center says

The previous record high was registered on January 8, 2021 Read more »

First Michelin Guide about Moscow's cafes, restaurants to be presented Oct 14

Russia will become the 33rd country where the Michelin guide is published, and Moscow, the first city in the whole of the CIS with cafes and restaurants awarded Michelin stars and special signs Read more »

Putin didn't endanger health of other people before self-isolating — Kremlin

Dmitry Peskov disagreed with the opinion that it would not be logical for the Russian President to self-isolate after having several personal meetings on Monday Read more »

Putin, who isolates himself after contacting COVID-infected people, is well — Kremlin

When asked if Putin had undergone a PCR test, and if the result was negative, Dmitry Peskov replied: "Certainly" Read more »

Russia records another 17,837 coronavirus cases — crisis center

The number of coronavirus recoveries in Russia went up by 15,907, bringing the total to 6,418,033 Read more »

Coots are crazy about fake plants for nest material: research

Photo: Apdency via Wikimedia Commons Coots’ nests along Dutch canals are repositories of plastic waste and some are even partial to artificial floral decorations, researchers from the Naturalis Biodiversity Center ... Read more »

Greenpeace calls for drastic action to protect vulnerable nature

Photo: Marten van Dijl/Greenpeace Some 20 activists from Greenpeace Nederland climbed onto the roof of the new, temporary parliamentary complex in The Hague in the early hours of Tuesday morning, ... Read more »

Rotterdam mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb is the ‘best mayor in the world'

Photo: Wouter Engler via Wikimedia Commons Rotterdam mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb has been awarded the 2021 World Mayor Award by the London-based thinktank City Mayors Foundation for ‘his commitment to treat ... Read more »

Cooper set to become Australian citizen after win over Springboks

Wallabies playmaker Quade Cooper is finally set to become an Australian citizen following his match-winning heroics against the Springboks on Sunday. Cooper completed a fairytale return to international rugby after ... Read more »

Kiev sends request to Prague to extradite Russian national Franchetti — spokesperson

Kiev’s request will later be dealt with in court, which will decide whether he can be extradited to Ukraine Read more »

Kate Moss' Daughter Lila Moss Just Channeled Her Mom So Well in These Moody Model Shots For Perfect Magazine

© ASSOCIATED PRESS. When your mom is one of the most famous faces in fashion and modeling, some of her talent for working the camera is bound to rub off. ... Read more »

San Marino's coronavirus situation calm thanks to Sputnik V jab, says top diplomat

In February 2021, San Marino’s authorities clinched an agreement with the RDIF for the delivery of the Sputnik V jab, which allowed them not only to vaccinate the local population of a little over 30,000, but also to launch a tourism vaccination program Read more »

Up to 75 wildfires active in nine Russian regions, emergencies ministry says

The emergencies ministry noted that aviation was used to extinguish fires in hard-to-reach areas Read more »

Sputnik V shipments to San Marino improved COVID situation in the country — Lavrov

During the talks in Moscow, the Russian Foerign Minister and Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs of San Marino Luca Beccari discussed the perspectives of further cooperation between two countries in fighting the coronavirus pandemic Read more »

Putin points to coronavirus cases in his close circle

Russian President emphasized the need to figure out what was actually happening Read more »

Russia, Turkey to deliver humanitarian aid to Kabul, Taliban official says

The newly-appointed head of the airport's administration noted that there are no security problems remaining with domestic flights, which resumed on September 4, and "passengers can freely fly to Kabul or out of it" Read more »

Bolshoi Theater to usher in new season by rolling out nine premieres

The Bolshoi’s ballet company will open its new season in Moscow on September 17 with Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake Read more »

Russia records 18,178 new daily COVID-19 cases, crisis center says

The relative increase of new infections is at the level of 0.25% Read more »

Dutch ‘living coffin' proves popular, new factory opened to meet demand

Photo: Loop of Life Nearly 100 people have opted for a burial in a ‘living coffin’ one year after the sustainable way of dealing with the dead was introduced. The ... Read more »

As knife crime rises, police launch a knife amnesty for teenagers

Knives confiscated by the police. Photo: Politie.nl Youngsters can hand in their knives anonymously to the police during a new national knife amnesty launched by the justice ministry and over ... Read more »

The Netherlands set to drop 1.5 metre rule, bring in vaccine checks in cafes

Protestors calling for clubs to reopen in Amsterdam. Photo: DutchNews.nl The Netherlands will drop 1.5 metre social distancing as an official coronavirus measure on September 25 but will require proof ... Read more »

No plans to move Moscow schools to remote learning for good — deputy mayor

Anastasia Rakova noted that high school students had studied remotely almost throughout 2020. "As soon as the coronavirus situation allowed, we instantly returned to in-person learning," she pointed out Read more »

Five mln people get vaccinated against coronavirus in Moscow — deputy mayor

According to Anastasia Rakova, the share of vaccinated elderly people is high in Moscow compared to other big cities around the world Read more »

Australia purchased 1 mln extra doses of American vaccine Moderna - Prime Minister

Prime Minister Scott Morrison also noted that during this month over 11 mln Pfozer and Moderna doses will be distributed in Australia, which is "enough to wipe out any queues for jabs" Read more »

Japan estimates efficacy of Pfizer vaccine at 85-96% - NHK TV Channel

Among men aged 20-60, the efficacy of the Pfizer vaccine was 89.6-93.4%, among men over 60 - 94.7-96.9% Read more »

Grounds for detention of Russian national Franchetti in Prague to be probed into

The Russian embassy in the Czech Republic said earlier on Sunday that Russian national Alexander Franchetti had been detained at Prague’s international airport Read more »

Putin attends ceremony to unveil monument to medieval Prince Alexander Nevsky

The monument is more than 20 meters tall and was built to mark the 800th anniversary since Alexander Nevsky’s birth Read more »

Russia records another 18,554 coronavirus cases

Currently, there are 557,664 active cases of the coronavirus in Russia Read more »

Olympic medals stolen from house of Russian tennis player Vesnina

"The safe was cracked," she said Read more »

TASS project ‘20 Questions with Vladimir Putin' wins TEFI Multimedia award

The TASS project won the ‘Interviewer’ nomination of the ‘Digital Media’ category Read more »

Dutch police arrest British F1 fan, mistaking him for mafia boss

Italian police images from 2011. Photos: EPA via ANP The public prosecution department has confirmed that the man arrested by heavily armed police officers at a restaurant in The Hague ... Read more »

Roman finds in Limes area in Utrecht unique in the world

The finds are on show at Catellum Hoge Woerd. Photo: Cornutus via Wikimedia Commons Archaeologists have found extremely rare Roman artefacts in an area of Utrecht that was once part ... Read more »

Antwerp and Rotterdam are new epicentre of European cocaine trade

Cocaine seized in Rotterdam. Photo: Public Prosecution Department The increased use of shipping containers to conceal drugs has made the high volume ports of Antwerp, Rotterdam and Hamburg the new ... Read more »

Abel chama a responsa e deve bancar mudança no ataque do Verdão para encarar o Flamengo

Neste domingo (12), o Palmeiras tem um duelo importante pela 20ª rodada do Brasileirão e pode ter uma novidade no time que enfrenta o Flamengo, no Allianz Parque. Segundo apuração ... Read more »