Canoe through Mechelen old town for free in return for clearing up floating waste

Readers who enjoy the active life may be interested in a new initiative in Mechelen (Antwerp Province): now you can go kayaking for free on the River Dijle as it flows through the heart of the city on condition you help to clear up floating refuse that has been fly tipped into the waterway.

The idea comes from local resident Xavier Cloetens: “We’re copying what they have been doing in Copenhagen for years: have fun, while you do something useful! In Mechelen you will be able to go canoeing and enjoy the atmosphere of the old town, while clearing up the floating refuse you encounter”.

The Van der Valk hotel and restaurant chain will fund the project by providing kayaks, paddles, life vests and all other necessities.

Xavier Cloetens: “During the lockdown I spent many more hours ambling through the city and I encountered a lot of waste in the River Dijle, all the result of fly tipping.  I had the idea of doing something about it.”

The City of Mechelen too is contributing.  A new refuse container is being located by the jetty and the city will also supply refuse bags as well as nets and garbage picks.

Kayaks can be booked via Van der Valk in Mechelen where the vessels are made available.  You need to return the canoe within 1 hour 45. 

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