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  • Dear Readers!

    There is a political stalemate in Germany at the moment. With four of the six parties elected to Germany’s new Parliament failing to find a compromise so that they can form a government, the country’s political future – at the time we went to print – is more uncertain than ever. A so-called Jamaica coalition, which gets its name from the colours of the different parties: black for the two Conservative coalition partners CDU and CSU, yellow for the Liberals FDP, and green for the Bündnis90/Die Grünen (the colours of the Jamaican flag), would appear to no longer be an option after the parties’ exploratory talks broke down on 19 November. At the same time, the Social Democrats seem to be sticking to their decision not to form another ‘grand coalition’ with their Conservative counterparts. There are certainly some huge political hurdles to overcome. Whilst some would prefer more state control, others are looking to follow a more typically liberal course with greater freedom for businesses. The Green’s desire to speed up the move towards an energy sector without fossil fuels (including shutting down coal-fired power stations and getting rid of internal combustion engines earlier than planned) is proving to be an obstacle for those with more conservative political interests. And, whilst the Liberals are finally fighting to expand digital networks in rural areas, the Conservatives would appear to be merely paying digital lip service to this subject.

    And yet there is no time to lose. The economy is already going through a structural change as a result of the next industrial revolution and this revolution is both digital and electrical. It has come at a time when the world is facing the huge challenges of climate change and a growing number of environmental problems which, in the end, will make it difficult to meet the global population’s needs.

    Even sand – a substance we would seem to be surrounded by – is becoming scarce. And, once again, it is our industry that has come up with a solution. If we are to curb global warming, move away from fossil fuels and conserve our planet’s raw materials, then setting up a genuine circular economy must be at the very centre of a government’s policy. If Germany, a country with so few natural resources of its own, is to remain an important industrial location in the future as supplies of raw materials become ever scarcer, then the spotlight must be turned on recycling. Recycling must be at the forefront of everyone’s minds, especially of product designers. The foundations were created for this when the Packaging Law was introduced during the last legislative period as this lays down product responsibility and market-based measures to promote recycling. What is needed now is to transfer these standards so that they apply to all products.
     
    There is always much to celebrate at the end of the year. REMONDIS is, for example, celebrating sixty years of plastics recycling at RE PLANO and, of course, that you – our custom-ers, friends, partners and employees – have remained loyal to us throughout the year. Together, day by day, we can help make the world that little bit more sustainable.
     
    We would like to thank you for your great support and collab-oration over the last twelve months and wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and successful New Year.

    Yours

    Ludger Rethmann

Climate change is making itself felt

Even if President Trump claims that climate change is a Chinese hoax, there is no denying the fact that countries all over the world have found themselves facing harsher weather conditions over the last few years. Whilst meteorologists stress that the weather and the climate are not the same thing, there is certainly evidence to suggest that we are dealing here with the consequences of the man-made greenhouse effect. The German city of Goslar, situated on the edge of the Harz National Park, was hit by such extreme weather conditions in July 2017.

Thousands of local residents affected

  • Torrential rain swept through the city on the morning of 24 July causing all rivers and streams to break their banks. With so much rain falling on the Harz within just 48 hours, water levels rose quickly and roads were turned into gushing rivers. Thousands of residents living in this south east region of Lower Saxony were directly affected by the flooding. Working closely together with the fire brigade, THW, the police and local authorities, EURAWASSER had their hands full tackling this emergency.

    By the morning of 26 July, the small brook, “Abzucht”, had turned into a rushing torrent

Rapid response thanks to strong partners

  • It is always a great relief for local authorities if they know they can get the support and help they need from their private sector partners at short notice – especially when they find themselves facing a potentially disastrous situation. EURAWASSER turned up straight away to help the City of Goslar fight the flash floods, providing them with full technical and logistical support. Remaining in close contact with its parent company, REMONDIS Aqua, it also arranged for additional equipment to be brought in from other regions. There are very few companies that are able to respond so quickly, competently and unbureaucratically to economic, technical and environmental crises. When the torrential rains hit the city, EURAWASSER and REMONDIS were able to show that they are definitely the right partners to have at your side in such extreme situations.

    The THW, fire brigade and EURAWASSER joined forces to tackle the floods in July 2017.

    Up to 300 litres of rain per square metre had poured down on the Harz region within just 48 hours. By the morning of 26 July, the usually gently-flowing brook, “Abzucht”, had turned into a rushing torrent and flooded large sections of the old city. The market place was completely under water; rainwater poured through the streets and into the buildings. Whilst local residents tried to save their houses by covering their front doors and cellar windows with sandbags, plastic covers and anything else they could get their hands on, a team of 350 firefighters from Goslar’s fire brigade tirelessly tackled the floods. Whole streets of houses and an old people’s home with 124 residents had to be evacuated. Life in the city centre came to a standstill.

    • The fire brigade had their hands full and were grateful for all the support they could get from EURAWASSER, the local authorities and the many volunteers

A combined effort

  • Fire firefighters, the THW, the police, the local authorities and EURAWASSER as well as many volunteers worked around the clock – building up sandbags, blocking off roads and pumping water out of cellars, underground carparks and underpasses. By midday Wednesday, the District of Goslar had issued a “catastrophe” alert. Throughout this time, EURAWASSER’s employees made sure that the drains were kept free to allow the water to run off and dealt with any problems that cropped up in this area. This cleaning work was particularly important – if they hadn’t done this, rocks, pieces of wood and any other floating debris would have accumulated and further aggravated the situation. The city centre’s sewer system had been completely flooded by the “Abzucht” breaking its banks. Debris and mud had found their way into the pipes and these materials also had to be removed by EURAWASSER as quickly as possible. Thanks to this vital and strenuous work, EURAWASSER’s team helped ensure that Goslar’s wastewater system was not put at risk. The sewage treatment plant also treated huge volumes of water – always producing the same high quality results so that all threshold values were met.

In action in other towns as well

  • The rivers Gande and Leine in the neighbouring town of Kreiensen (an area also served by EURAWASSER) were close to breaking their banks and practically all of the rainwater channels there were flooded. EURAWASSER replaced broken pumps and removed any blockages to prevent the situation escalating any further.

    Climate change is making itself felt: the city hadn’t been flooded so badly for 119 years.

    The last time Goslar had been hit by such massive floods was back in 1898. Public private partnerships had not been invented back then. Fortunately, the situation today is very different thanks to the close cooperation work between the City of Goslar and EURAWASSER. And, with teams of staff from other REMONDIS locations taking their special vehicles to Goslar to help tackle the floodwaters, EURAWASSER was able to provide the local authorities with fast, practical and uncomplicated support throughout

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