After the devastating floods at the end of July 2021, the Rursee and surrounding rivers in the Eifel were heavily polluted. We were on site with CollectiX and supported the cleanup. Why is this mission a matter of the heart for us? Read more to find out.
Floods: Our unexpected cleanup mission in our own backyard
Who would have thought that in 2021 we would take off on a flood mission? Normally, our missions and assignments with our waste collection boat take us far away from „home“. Slovakia, Serbia and Bosnia & Herzegovina – that’s where we’ve been in recent months, cleaning up littered dams and river mouths that are impassable because of all the plastic.
But in July 2021, our trash collection boat named „Moringa by Landmarken“ was to be used – suddenly and unexpectedly – for the first time in Germany. The occasion is a sad one: not long ago, the news was full of images of devastation; flooded houses, floating cars and streets resembling a raging river. The effects of the extreme flooding have also affected us greatly. It is depressing to be confronted daily with the damage caused by the floods, especially with the thought of all the people who have lost so much.
That’s why we were able to help our neighbours right now. Because our home region, Aachen and the Eifel, like many other places in North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate, was badly affected. It was the Eifel-Rur water board that approached us and asked if we could help with the cleanup: We didn’t have to think long.
In cooperation with our partners BERKY and Landmarken AG, we were out and about for several weeks at various locations along the Rur and Rur lakes in the Eifel region to clear the dam walls, lakes and river tributaries of washed-up trash. Plastic waste is in the minority during this operation, even though we collected plastic bottles from time to time. In Einruhr, as in many other places, the surface of the lake was hardly recognizable because of all the branches and large logs – and unfortunately there were also a few dead animals floating among the wood. During our deployment in Gemünd we found more household garbage, such as trash cans, countless beverage crates or furnishings.
Where the boat cannot get across the water itself, it is transported by truck and crane. After all, the operation also helps us to further develop our technology. Our drone system, developed by our partners at the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI), is also used to analyze the composition of the waste and wooden carpets and to refine the software.