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Oosterweel construction works suspended by Council of State

Road works at the Oosterweel site near Antwerp have come to a standstill in a case of environmental pollution. The Council of State ordered the standstill of the works in a case initiated by action groups. 

Oosterweel is the name of the major construction project around the city and the port of Antwerp. It is one of the biggest construction projects in Belgian history, meant to improve mobility around one of Flanders' most important economic hubs. The Oosterweel project will finish the orbital road link around Antwerp. 

However, the works are being hampered by the PFOS pollution case. PFOS is part of the PFAS family, also dubbed "forever chemicals". The historic pollution is caused by the nearby company 3M. Polluted earth is being removed as part of the construction works in the Zwijndrecht area. 

Building constructor Lantis is carrying the polluted sand to other places as part of the works, but action groups found this irresponsible. The local action group Grondrecht and the environmental organisation Greenpeace took the matter to the Council of State which has now suspended the works, at least temporarily. Lantis cannot carry the polluted sand around to move it to a different place and has to find another solution.  

PFAS chemicals may harm people's health when they are being exposed to them over a longer period. Local residents living in the Zwijndrecht area near 3M have already been told that they should refrain from eating vegetables grown in their own garden and free-range eggs from their chickens. 

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