Big Jump: "Water as warm as our hearts"

Nearly 3,000 people took part in the Big Jump in Flanders on Sunday. The Big Jump involves jumping into a river or stream in your bathing costume in order to press for cleaner water.

The event has become an annual tradition that is observed across the European Union. Supporters say that action is urgently needed because hardly anywhere are European clean water norms attained.

In Belgium the jump was staged at 30 locations across the country. Chris Steenwegen of the environmental organisation Natuurpunt: "It's important to keep the authorities awake on this issue and to convince them of the need to invest in clean water. The ecological quality of all surface waters should be good, but in Flanders this is the case nowhere."

Ghent was the most popular location for the Big Jump in northern Belgium. With 340 jumpers being joined by VRT weather lady Sabine Hagedoren: "I'm worried about water. We are not doing as well as some of our European partners."

The temperature of the water came as a blessing for the jumpers. As one participant put it: "The water was warm, just as warm as our hearts."