River Cleanup and Multi Masters Group keep the ‘Dok’ in Merksem waste free with innovative River Skimmer

This afternoon, the River Skimmer was presented in Merksem (Antwerp). It is the first machine of its kind in Belgium. It collects floating waste in the ‘Dok’, a side arm of the Albert Canal. “This is an important step in the fight against litter,” says Thomas De Groote of River Cleanup. “A step we could not have taken without the support of Multi Masters Group.”

River Cleanup is an organisation whose mission is to make rivers and their banks litter-free. A huge task: worldwide, 8,000,000,000 kg of waste ends up in the water every year. “Our ambition is to reduce that figure to 0. Of course, that doesn’t happen all at once.”

Thomas De Groote van River Cleanup is blij met de River Skimmer.
Thomas De Groote of River Cleanup is clearly pleased with the River Skimmer.

River Cleanup and Multi Masters Group

One of River Cleanup’s partners is Multi Masters Group. “We have already organised a litter campaign together in the Rivierenhof in Deurne,” says Nicolas de Schutter, chairman of Multi Masters Group. “Due to corona, mass events are out of the question. That is why we looked for an alternative. Together with River Cleanup we decided to tackle the waste problem in the ‘Dok’ of Merksem, located between our current head office on the Westkaai and our future head office on the Oostkaai in Merksem.”

River Skimmer

The solution to the problem in Merksem is called River Skimmer. This groundbreaking technology purifies no less than 500 litres of water per minute. “We worked for eight months to get this machine fully operational. We had the first version shipped in from the United States. However, it turned out that it was not adapted to the specific situation in the Dok.”

River Skimmer Multi Masters Group
During the presentation, the operation of the River Skimmer was explained using some tennis balls as ‘litter’.

Construct Masters

The water level in this branch of the Albert Canal constantly rises and falls because of the busy inland navigation and the Wijnegem lock. “The specialists of our Construct Masters division dismantled the machine and built a completely new floating River Skimmer. Now the system is completely ready to make and keep the Dok waste-free,” says Nicolas de Schutter.

The Multi Masters Group team that created the River Skimmer
Chairman Nicolas de Schutter (right) and some members of the Multi Masters Group team that worked on the River Skimmer for months: Steven Lozie, Rob Vleugels and Carlos Van Bergen (left to right).

River Skimmer at the MAS and in Ghent

Plans are being made to install a River Skimmer elsewhere in Belgium as well. “This year, we want to install a similar, larger machine at the MAS in Merksem and in Dok Noord in Ghent,” says Thomas De Groote.

River Cleanup also looks across borders. Multi Masters Group can help with that too. “Our French parent company Samsic is following this initiative with great interest. There is interest in supporting River Cleanup’s activities in all the countries where we are active, some 25 in all,” says Nicolas de Schutter.

Thomas De Groote is happy to see it happen. “We are extremely happy with the support of Multi Masters Group. Without them, this would not be possible. We cannot thank them enough.”

The inauguration of the River Skimmer was very well received in Belgian media:

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