Canal It Up, the association that cleans the Brussels Canal by kayak, has landed Senne underground for the first time. A ‘cool’ experience also aimed at Draw attention to the pollution that the river has to deal with.
▶ Our report: Bins in a kayak to collect waste from the Brussels Canal thanks to ‘Canal it up’ (09/08/20)
On Monday morning, the Brussels Assembly for the first time replaced the canal with a river and not just any river … the Seine that flows under the capital. “We put our kayak in the water a few meters underground where the Senne runs 9 kilometers under the city, in the dark. Not many Brussels residents know that there is a river running through their city”says Peter Elsen of Canal It Up.
As we can see in these photos, the kayaks have been lowered somewhere behind the Gare du Midi, at the site of Vivaqua (with permission from the Brussels Joint Water Production and Distribution Company) where there is a hole in the roof of a concrete tunnel covering the Sene area.
“At first, there is no need to argue, the current takes us. What you will notice immediately is that it is very black and the atmosphere is calm and relaxing, with the sound of creaking water”Peter says.
The four boats passed under the Gare du Midi, in the Sewer Museum, under the Little Belt, below Maximilian Park and the Docks Shopping Centre. They also passed along the Paruck Valley in Sainctelette. “This is where the Chinese mitten crabs settled. There is not much other life in this dark tunnel, other than many flies and spiders.
After 7 km, the outdoor kayak arrived “Passing by a high-ceilinged hall, some call the cathedral”, at the level of Van Praet Bridge. Then return underground for the last two kilometers. They will then pass under the port of Brussels, the industrial zones and the car parks.
Tissue and other waste
an experience “calm” And the “embarrassed”but Peter wishes first of all through this extraordinary excursion to denounce the dumping of wastewater into the river in rainy weather. “A few hours later and the second part of the tunnel, we go out again in the open air, in a section that was vaulted in the 1990s and recently reopened. Habitats have been created for fish where the current is less strong. But also surprising is the number of wet wipes and other waste still stuck with plants on the banks, a sad gift of sewer spills. Are we therefore entitled to enjoy the same spectacle in Parc Maximilien once Senne is discovered?”
10 million cubic meters of polluted sewage flow into Senne and the canal each year, Canal It Up founder asserts.
▶ Read also: Associations denounced the dumping of wastewater into Brussels’ waterways
AV – Photos: Canal It Up