Fly plague in Rotterdam linked with recycling business

Dead fly Photo: Depositphotos

A rubbish sorting company has denied that it is responsible for a local plague of flies, despite six years of reports of neighbourhood nuisance.

In a court case earlier this week, N+P recycling firm contested a fine and new stricter planning demands from Zuid-Holland province, aimed at improving life in the Rotterdam neighbourhood of Heijplaat.

Residents there say a fly infestation they believe stems from local recycling company N+P has forced them out of their gardens and has even led one resident to move.

Sandra Evers-van Meurs told NOS that the persistent pests drove her out entirely. ‘It started to dominate our lives,’ she said. ‘They were everywhere. Before I started cooking, I first had to kill 40 flies.’

The buzz

Residents say they have been dealing with the fly infestation for six years. In 2021, the province of Zuid-Holland and the municipality of Rotterdam commissioned the Knowledge and Advice Centre Dierplagen (KAD) from Wageningen to investigate the source of the nuisance.

It concluded that there are twice as many flies in Heijplaat as in other Rotterdam neighbourhoods. It also placed the blame on N+P, finding that large numbers of flies and fly larvae were found among meat packaging, milk cartons and other plastic.

‘The company has been sorting PMD waste [plastic and metal packaging and drink cartons] for six years,’ resident Rinus Groen told RTL Nieuws’ EditieNL. ‘About forty trucks full of garbage bags arrive here every day. Those bags have been on the road for more than a month and are full of maggots and flies.’

The Rijnmond environmental service DCMR tightened N+P’s permit conditions, also mandating that the company take measures to reduce the fly nuisance. It has imposed a fine for lack of compliance.

The business, which has recently twice changed hands,denies responsibility and took the state to court in The Hague this week to contest both enforcement measures.


‘We are not the source of the nuisance,’ N+P director Klaas Wierda told Dutch press. ‘If we had to take even more measures, our costs would rise even more and that would be disproportionate, in our opinion.’

Wierda said the company works hard to prevent nuisance, keeping doors closed, cleaning and processing supplies faster. ‘There are standards for sound and smell, but not for flies. We don’t know what we have to meet,’ he said.

Dutch News has contacted N+P and its lawyer for a comment. A court ruling is expected in six weeks.

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