Fishermen operating close to the coastline find more than just fish in their nets: they discover different kinds of litter, such as cans or plastics, which should normally have been sorted by members of the public. While they normally throw this back into the water, they will try to take it back to the mainland, to have it sent to recycling units. "We would like to give the waste a second life in recycling factories to make lamps, banks or garden pots," says Senne Aertbeliën of the Belgian Health Department.
However, larger things such as old fishing nets - which they often pull on board as well - are less easy to recycle. Some thinking has to be done to find out what's the best way to deal with this.
In all, Belgian fishermen collect some 20 tons of waste each year. The new project will be labelled "Fishing for Litter".