Mayors and delegates from forty-nine towns on the River Rhine began a two-day meeting in Dusseldorf on Tuesday (6 February) to discuss ways of combatting pollution and controlling the flow of industrial waste in the river.
GV: Rhine River flowing through Oberwesel area with tug on water. (2 shots)
GV: factory PAN TO barge at water's edge
SV: polluted waters with debris at river edge.
GV: oil refinery with smoke pouring from chimneys
GV: petroleum storage tanks near water's edge.
LV: Buildings and factories on banks of river.
GV: bridge with factories in distance. (2 shots)
GV: barge making its way down stream.
GV: factories on banks of river. (2 shots)
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Background: Mayors and delegates from forty-nine towns on the River Rhine began a two-day meeting in Dusseldorf on Tuesday (6 February) to discuss ways of combatting pollution and controlling the flow of industrial waste in the river. Holland in particular has been worried about having to cope with sewage from countries up-stream.
SYNOPSIS: The river flows for one-thousand three-hundred and twenty kilometres (1,000 miles) from central Switzerland to the North Sea. It is a place for holidays for thousands of people and its banks are famous for their vineyards and castles. Its almost eight-hundred navigable kilometres (500 miles) form europe's major inland shipping artery.
But there is another side to "Old Father Rhine'; it has become known as the world's biggest sewer. And for years towns and countries through which the river flows have tried to coordinate their fight to solve the problem. On Tuesday (6 February) representatives from the four Rhine-countries heard Dutch delegates complain that every year about twenty million cubic metres (over 706 million cubic feet) of floating rubbish has to be cleared from Rotterdam harbour to keep Europe's largest port open.
While some studies say anti-pollution efforts should increase five-fold, other reports say there has been some success.