De grote grondvraag

How we helped the OVAM to make people aware of the need to look at their land.

Our rich industrial past in Flanders has resulted in some 85,000 plots of land having an increased risk of pollution. However, half of them have never been examined to see whether pollution in the soil puts our precious water supply at risk, as well as the health of people and of nature.

With De Grote Grondvraag (The Big Land Survey), the OVAM aims to map out all the areas at risk in the coming years, to investigate them and, where necessary, to clean them up. This is the only way in which we can restore every bit of land.

After a positive test phase in the districts of Mechelen, Nijlen and Gavere, the campaign was launched in Flanders on 5 November 2019. The project is to be phased in over the next five years, using the website as the central tool. Thus, by visiting www.degrotegrondvraag.be, you can easily check out your land by entering your address. If your soil is contaminated, the OVAM will help you through the different stages of what you need to do about it.

The campaign focuses on long-term cooperation with the local authorities, and at the very outset 94 municipalities took part, a figure that is set to rise in the coming months. As the link between government and the people, local authorities are the ideal partner not only when it comes to passing on essential information about the land, but also by acting as a point of contact for questions.

Each local authority has been given a toolkit containing communication material such as flyers, posters and messages to be posted on their channels. In this way, the local authorities are able to present De Grote Grondvraag in municipal circulars or information publications, or via social media.

The message to get people to examine their land has also been disseminated nationally through radio commercials and targeted ads on social media.

A week after the campaign had been launched, over 50,000 people had checked out their land. The media, too, highlighted the relevance of the project, with VRT Journaal, for example, devoting a whole day to the subject. De Grote Grondvraag was also mentioned in the 8am, 9am and 10am news bulletins on Radio 2 and subsequently discussed by De Madammen, as well as on Radio 1.

In addition, several articles have appeared in newspapers such as Gazet Van Antwerpen, De Standaard, VRT NWS, Het Belang van Limburg, Susanova, Metro, ... and regionally on HLN, Persregio Dender, Persinfo, ...

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