Follow the Dutch Coastal Defenders in their investigation on water pollution


With a focus on water quality, let’s dive into Surfrider Netherland’s fight against heavy and chemical pollution. Ineed, chemical pollution is a major issue in different parts of the country such as the Ijmond region where Tata Steel, a steel industry, is consciously polluting its surroundings areas. In order to tackle this water pollution problem at its source, Surfrider Netherlands decided to measure the degree of water pollution and shed light on the impacts it might have on the environment, local waters and residents. 

Controlling water quality to tackle pollution

.As part of its missions, Surfrider Europe and Surfrider Netherlands want to ensure that everyone, including water sports enthusiasts, can safely enter water and enjoy it without any health risks. . This means that no harmful pollutants should be found in these areas. To achieve this goal, scientific assessments to measure chemical pollution are undertaken every month in different locations around the country . The retreived samples are further analyzed by an external party, to achieve rational and compatible results.

If some spots in the Netherlands are polluted, Surfrider Europe can address the problem to the competent authorities and to the polluters to find relevant solutions and put an end to this destructive pollution.

Targeting a diversified selection of criteria 

For Surfrider, the criterias chosen by the European Environment Agency which determine the good quality of bathing water are not representative. Therefore, when conducting measurement and taking samples,we recommend focusing on various criteria to get in-depth results on water quality and finding what type of pollution truly lies beneath the surface

For now, only bacteriological pollution is taken into account and only during the summertime (July & August). This is not enough to determine the quality of a spot, especially when we know that many people use to enjoy bathing waters all year round when surfing, paddling, or navigating.

Chemical pollution (hydrocarbons, drug residues, pesticides), aquatic waste, or algae are missing on the criterias taken into account in the report on bathing water quality. Accordingly, how can we make sure the water we swim in is of good quality?

The first step towards a better monitoring and control of water quality would be to add more criterias to the assessment step. Emphasizing the importance of measuring various parameters such as chemicals, heavy metals and bacteria is one of the aims of the sampling campaign led by Surfrider Netherlands. The goal is also to inform the general public and decision makers on the presence and concentration of these different kind of pollutants.

The case of Tata Steel

For instance, Tata Steel (steel factory) is well-known for its disastrous impact on the environment and its surroundings. The industry has been polluting the Dutch IJmond region and especially city of Wijk aan Zee, where the steel production facilities are located. Carcinogenic and heavy metals are knowingly dumped into the Ocean, the air and all the surroundings of the industry.

To raise awareness on this situation and call for justice, the Coastal Defenders from Surfrider Netherlands were featured in on the documentary ‘Europe’s Biggest Lie', to denounce the heavy pollution occurring in Wijk aan Zee.

This large-scale water pollution is only one of many examples of hidden pollutions taking place in the Netherlands and in Europe. 

All this considered, to be able to really evaluate and certify the quality of the waters we enjoy, many more parameters need to be considered. Mostly, we should be able to detect them efficiently and hold those responsible accountable for these cases of water pollution as they are a major threat to our health and our environment.

The Surfrider Coastal Defenders will continue their fight for water of excellent quality because our health and the health of our Ocean depend on it. 

If you want to learn more or join the Surfrider Coastal Defenders movement, find more information here

Similar articles


Will Ostreopsis be back in the Basque Country and the Mediterranean coast this summer?

The toxic algae, known for a decade in the Mediterranean, appeared on the Atlantic coast last summer, clo...

read more

Choosing the right sunscreen: how to protect our health and the ocean?

The sunny days are back and holidays are around the corner, one of the first reflexes is to pull out your...

read more

our values


The passion for the oceans, the coastline and the pleasures animate everyone who supports Surfrider and guides the organization's action.


Surfrider is rooted in the value of sharing and participation through inclusion and diversity.


Surfrider seeks a harmonious relationship between humans and nature.