Synthetic drug waste disposal, help?!

Chemicals & materials

The challenge

Synthetic drug waste disposal, help?!

In 2021, yet another drug discharge was found. This time in a Brabant forest. A meter-deep pit with drug waste that causes major environmental problems (Keukenkamp, 2021). This is a nightmare for nature and these substances can be very dangerous for humans (Drinkwater Platform, 2021). In the first half of 2021, the number of drug dumping increased by 64%, making it a major problem (Police, 2021). All this data is problematic, which is why innovative ideas are important.

The why

Why is this challenge important?

The drug barn of Europe. In the world of drugs, for example, one can look at Brabant. In Bram Endedijk's book of the same name, there is even a chapter called 'Breaking bad in Brabant', but this problem does not only occur in Brabant. Tens of billions are lost in the drug industry, many people are killed, officials are bribed and kilograms of drug waste are discharged. This drug waste is toxic to humans and animals and can end up in the ground water due to dumping (Roks et al., 2021). A study by Kruize and Gruter (2020) shows that the police in the Netherlands discovered 191 dump locations in 2019. This given, there is always a dark number that plays with it. The police do not always find all the dumps and so in reality there will be more than 191 dumpings.

Preventive or repressive
A problem can have both a preventive and a repressive solution.

Preventive: A prevention solution focuses on preventing a problem. The intervention therefore takes place before the 'offence' occurs.

Repressive: Repressive action revolves around suppressing certain behavior. Following certain rules or handing out fines can have a deterrent effect. This is about punishing 'wrong' behaviour.

The solution

What outcome are we looking for?

The so-called waterbed effect is important to take into account. This effect means that the problem moves geographically. Imagine that we install hundreds of cameras in a certain place in order to be able to intervene immediately when a drug release is suspected. This can have a deterrent effect, so that no more drug waste is discharged at that location. This alone has not solved the problem. They will probably simply look for another place (domestic or abroad) to discharge the waste. This is therefore an important effect to keep in mind when looking for solutions.


What do we expect from the participants?

Open minded and out of the box thinking.


We are looking for:
al kinds of study backgrounds! We think it's important to have an interest in environmental, health and safety subjects in combination with the dutch police.


  • The experience to work with the Dutch police for a day and tackle a growing problem in nature and society with a group of enthusiastic peers!


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