The Dutch have a saying, "God made the world, but the Dutch made Holland," and anyone traveling through the country can see why. The Netherlands, about one-third of which lies below sea level, owes its continued existence to an intricate system of coastal fortifications, flood defenses and innovative water management technologies. And about one-sixth of the country consists of land that has been drained and reclaimed from the sea, lakes, marshes and swamps. The Dutch, in short, know quite a lot about keeping their feet dry in a delta.
One of the speakers at the recent Polymer Innovation Day, organized by the Dutch Polymer Institute in Papendal, the Netherlands, revealed that there is now a new weapon - made of biocomposite plastic material - that can be used in the ongoing process of dike reinforcement and shore protection. Called the "ground consolidator," it was originally developed to reinforce soft, weak ground. However, more and more applications are now being developed and tested, and civil engineering projects in which they are currently being deployed include biodegradable shore protection projects, which are aimed at preventing erosion; the creation of artificial reefs; and to improve the sliding stability of dikes.