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About "clean" beaches and beach cleaning in Belgium
Belpaeme, K.; Kerckhof, F.; Gheskiere, T. (2004). About "clean" beaches and beach cleaning in Belgium, in: Green, D.R. et al. (Ed.) Littoral 2004: 7th International Symposium. Delivering Sustainable Coasts: Connecting Science and Policy, Aberdeen, Scotland, UK, 20th - 22nd September 2004. Proceedings volume 2. pp. 749-751
In: Green, D.R. et al. (Ed.) (2004). Littoral 2004: 7th International Symposium. Delivering Sustainable Coasts: Connecting Science and Policy, Aberdeen, Scotland, UK, 20th - 22nd September 2004. Proceedings volume 2. Cambridge Publications: Cambridge. ISBN 0-9540081-0-4. XVIII, 425-797 pp., more

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Document types: Conference paper; Poster

Keywords
    Beaches; Cleaning; ANE, Belgium, Belgian Coast [Marine Regions]; Marine

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Abstract
    Clean beaches are a priority for all coastal municipalities. This cleaning happens mostly by using a mechanical beach cleaner. In Belgium, all 10 coastal municipalities possess their own mechanical beach cleaner. By using such a device it is indeed possible to achieve an acceptable result in a quick and efficient way. However, a mechanical beach cleaner not only removes most of the man-produced waste but unfortunately also takes away organic material. The organic material in the drift-line has numerous natural functions in the coastal ecosystem, in terms of coastal defence, as feeding ground, as a biotope for pioneer plants, etc. It is also a rich exploring ground and provides educational material for tourists and children. On the other hand, manual cleaning undoubtedly has several positive effects: less waste is produced, less cost for the treatment of the waste, less fuel cost as the cleaner is used less, bigger chance for the beach visitor to explore the natural material, and, moreover, the profit the natural ecosystem will take of it. In close collaboration with the coastal municipalities, a spring-cleaning action was scheduled in March 2004. Through scientifically based methods used in the OSPAR marine beach litter project, all material on ten beach zones was gathered. The results are presented in this paper. The information thus assembled is of capital importance if we want to convince municipalities to deploy their beach-cleaning machine in a more carefully thought-out and efficient way and not to “just drive the beach cleaner". More than half of the mechanically removed material from the beaches consisted of material with a biological origin. A different way of managing the beach, more manual cleaning and less mechanical, will lead to a win-win situation, for nature and for the local authorities.

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