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Waste problem after floods: "forgotten" motorway near Liège becomes huge dump

The debris is being cleaned up at a fast pace after the massive floods in the Ardennes region, but the tons of waste have to go somewhere. The A601 north of the city of Liège has become an enormous temporary dump. It becomes more and more clear that the massive amounts of all kinds of waste will become a major problem to handle. 

The A601 is just 5 kilometres long and connected two important motorways. It was opened in 1964, but was more or less abandoned at a later stage. In 2013, one lane was permanently closed while in December 2014 it was completely barred, becoming a ghost road. 

Since Sunday, the site is changing rapidly as truckloads with debris and old furniture are arriving. Members of the police and the Civil Protection unit are carrying out regular patrols along the waste to check the presence of possible human remains

The whole stretch of road is completely full now. The provinces of Namur, Liège and Luxemburg were desperately looking for new sites as the amount of waste is enormous; a new location near Herstal has been found. It is estimated that there are 1.5 million tons of waste. Some 50,000 cars have been swept away by the force of the water and have ended up in a completely different location in the middle of the nature. These cars are being removed by helicopters if they are not too heavy. 

There is also another environmental problem: the waste has not been sorted yet. And it remains to be seen whether the separate waste - like household appliances - can be recycled as it is often polluted with mud, dirty water or chemicals. 

Valentin Bianchi / Hans Lucas
Valentin Bianchi / Hans Lucas

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