Flemish fields less polluted
The idea of the plan was to combat overfertilization and safeguard the quality of the ground water.Over the last decades surface water became very polluted, partly from the nitrates due to overfertilization by farmers.
Because nitrates pose a threat to public health, a manure action plan was drawn up. The idea of the plan was to combat overfertilization and safeguard the quality of the ground water.
However, the efforts made in Flanders were insufficient and the European Union issued a warning to Flanders. All of Flanders was categorised as 'vulnerable land'.
The ground may contain a maximum of 90 kilograms of nitrate residue per hectare. The owners of areas that do not attain this norm will be fined.
In 2006, 54% of the soil samples were at or below the norm. Last year 74% were able to attain the norm. According to Flemish Environment Minister Hilde Crevits (Flemish Christian Democrat) there is a considerable difference between different kinds of crops. Fields where sugar beets and fruit are grown do better than some other crops.
Europe wants to see a considerable improvement of the surface water in Belgium in 4 years.