On Sunday 10 July, 32 participants took part in the Big Jump in Zwalm. They did this to draw more attention to the quality and accessibility of our waterways. The municipality of Zwalm, Visitor Center Flemish Ardennes – Boembekemolen (BC VlAr) and Milieufront Omer Wattez vzw (MOW) have joined forces to make it an atmospheric and instructive experience. All this under the approving eye of Big Jump initiator Good Planet. Among those present, the mayor of Zwalm Bruno Tuybens and the Green federal member of parliament Stefaan Van Hecke (Merelbeke)
A few days before the planned jump, tests showed that the water quality in the pond of Little Switzerland did not offer sufficient guarantees for safe jumping. That is why the organization opted for a fun alternative with a splash pool and a ball pool. That resulted in some beautiful photos and fun moments. The information boards about water quality and the various information stands of participating organizations also hit the mark.
“We are delighted that so many participants and spectators share our concerns about water quality. Despite the adjustment, it was a very pleasant event,” says co-organizer Francia Neirinck, alderman for Nature and the Environment in Zwalm. “Jumping into the pond would have involved an irresponsible health risk. Safety before everything.”
During the Big Jump, the band Picking Combo created a sultry atmosphere and those present enjoyed the beautiful surroundings and the terrace of Little Switzerland. The organization had a surprise in store for all those who moved sustainably to the Big Jump. Those who came by bike were offered a free drink.
Joost Elet of MOW is pleased that so many places have paid attention to water quality: “Not just here in Zwalm, but all over Europe, thousands of participants jumped into the water for better water quality. So there is clearly support. We keep jumping every year, at least until we reach the minimum standards for water quality, as imposed by Europe.”
“Government bodies that have to realize the separate sewerage systems fully deserve our support”, add Karel De Vuyst and Veerle Van Der Kelen of BC VlAr. “Where necessary, IBAs (Individual Treatment of Wastewater) are a necessary solution that must be closely monitored. We urgently need to prioritize water quality by making more people and resources available.”