Last Sunday thousands of people across Europe took part in the "Big Jump" at selected points of rivers, lakes and the sea to claim the right of all European citizens to have access to clean waters, living rivers and lakes.
The event, organised by the European Rivers Network (ERN) and supported by the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) and WWF, marks the 10th anniversary of the EU’s Water Framework Directive. With the adoption of the Water Framework Directive in 2000, EU countries committed themselves to achieving the goal of a healthy aquatic environment by 2015. 10 years later, this goal seems as far away as ever.
A report published a few days before the “Big Jump” by environment group EEB, reveals that European governments are doing very little to protect and restore Europe’s waters. The report “10 years of Water Framework Directive: a toothless tiger?” provides an insight into the low level of ambition countries have for implementing plans to improve the state of rivers and lakes. Based on eight river management plans around Europe, it was discovered that despite eight years of preparation and planning there appears to be little improvement forecast in the coming years.
The Regionaal Landschap Kempen en Maasland, a Belgian IUCN Member, organized the Big Jump on the shores of the river Maas which marks the border between Belgium and the Netherlands. More than a hundred people jumped in the river Maas at the presence of representatives of the local administration.