Amsterdam Cleans Up Its Act

By Jon Price

Long before the Coronavirus came along, there was another C-word hitting the headlines. The climate crisis continues to pose a great threat and with many of the world's greatest cities, including Barcelona and Venice, suffering from the effects of overtourism, some pioneering figures in the tourism industry are taking matters into their own hands. 

A proud partner of MakeMyDay, Starboard Boats, which offers small group cruises along some of Amsterdam's lesser known canals, has turned its attention to limit the environmental impact of its waterway adventures. It has begun taking special precautions to protect the very waters its passengers are so excited to be exploring by introducing special plastic clean-up cruises. 

Sounds intriguing. Tell me more...

Well, it's pretty simple really. Using their fleet of electric and eco-friendly boats, the company has launched an interesting initiative known as 'Plastic Fishing', in which visitors, residents and even local businesses can join special voyages designed to fish for and remove any rubbish or debris found floating in the city’s canals. Taking several simple but effective steps to operate in a cleaner and more environmentally friendly way, the goal is to preserve the beauty of Amsterdam’s canals for many generations.

Why is this work so important? 

There is more to the Plastic Fishing programme than meets the eye. While the initiative has the obvious benefits of helping to keep Amsterdam’s waterways clean, Starboard is actually taking the campaign one step further to double down on its eco-friendly potential. 

After businesses and individuals onboard a Plastic Fishing trip have scooped up waste in their nets, all of this unwanted plastic is then passed on to another company which recycles it into weird and wonderful products. So far, everything from clocks, lamps, office equipment and even souvenir keyrings for Starboard Boats’ guests have been produced – so that those who have 'gone fishing' can keep an environmentally-friendly memento of their experience. 

That's very impressive...

It is indeed. Amsterdam’s canals are registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and, combined, span an astonishing 100 kilometres. With just shy of four million people taking to the water every single year, it is important for those that use these iconic canals to act responsibly and ensure that they can be enjoyed by future generations for many years to come. Starboard Boats appears to be doing an excellent job, but much more work needs to be done, both in Amsterdam and beyond, in order to promote sustainable tourism worldwide for the foreseeable future.

How do I get involved?

Fancy joining one of these special clean-up cruises? They will be available once again when it is deemed safe and can be booked via MakeMyDay.