Bees at the service of the Brussels environment:
an innovative and collaborative project!
From now on, bees will be keeping an eye on the environment of the Brussels-Capital Region!
This project, led by Beeodiversity, in collaboration with Brussels companies who have been flying the flag for the environment for quite some time now such as Elia, Caméléon, Tractebel, Sodexo, Cofinimmo, Droh!me…, will allow us to perform a situational analysis of the biodiversity and pollution on the basis of the Bee indicator* with a view to enhancing the environment of pollinators and man.
Why bees? In reality, conventional environmental monitoring tools can only cover a limited surface area but honeybees collect a multitude of samples over a vast expanse.
To feed themselves, a colony of bees will gather pollen from more than 4 billion flowers a year and will, on average, cover a radius of 1.5 km (700 ha) to forage. Along with pollen, these master pollinators also bring the nectar and water they collected from the flowers to the hive.
Music to the ears of Beeodiversity who analyses these precious samples via scientific processes to obtain data on the use of pesticides (more than 500 active substances are checked for), the presence of heavy metals, plant diversity (on the basis of the Bee indicator*) and the nutritional quality of the local flora for pollinators. These data are then processed for situational analysis purposes so that targeted action can be taken in aid of the environment and human health.
- Map the areas that are most at risk in terms of pollution or biodiversity so that remedial action can be focused on those areas;
- Develop green areas, in collaboration with local stakeholders, to address the deficiencies discovered so that, all year long, all pollinators will have access to the right diversity of plants which is so essential to their survival;
- Make a maximum number of stakeholders (authorities, citizens, businesses...) aware of the need to take targeted action together;
- Identify the origins of pesticides and heavy metals.
The plan is to create some fifteen monitoring sites across the Brussels region, which would result in an 80 % coverage. Analyses are currently being conducted on ten sites.
This has been made possible thanks to the collaboration of businesses mindful of the environment and the well-being in Brussels. Several partners have come on board already and the hope is that many more will join. But the cooperative aspect of the project is not confined to the corporate world only as the data obtained via Beeomonitoring will serve as a guide for anyone keen to contribute to the well-being of the Brussels environment. A collaboration with local beekeepers is also on the cards.
* Method to assess the quality of the environment based on in excess of twenty scientific measurements performed on matrices collected by bees (pollen and nectar).
Michaël van Cutsem
Tél : +32 2 428 00 82
GSM : +32 477 66 75 35