A swimmer from the Netherlands is making something of a splash in an attempt to draw attention to the pollution problems of the river Rhine.This content was published on July 11, 2000 - 15:36
Hans Weeber took the plunge in the northern Swiss city of Basel and is hoping to swim the 1,025 kilometres to the Rhine estuary at Rotterdam over the next 11 days. He hopes to spend no more than three hours a day in the water, taking rest periods on a boat accompanying him.
Before entering the water Weeber said the Rhine had improved considerably over the last few years, but much remained to be done.
He will be collecting water samples along the route. And at the end of his journey he will present the authorities with a rock crystal from the source of the Rhine in Switzerland.
His departure coincided with the 50th anniversary of the foundation of the International Committee for the Protection of the Rhine in Basel.
The Rhine, which is the busiest river in the world, was heavily polluted until about 20 years ago. However, following an major environmental accident at a Basel-based chemical plant in 1986, major efforts have been underway to clean up the river.
swissinfo with agencies
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