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Huub Rijnaarts reflects on AquaConSoil

During AquaConSoil 2023 in Prague, a significant moment unfolded as Huub Rijnaarts passed the chairmanship baton to Professor Fred Coulon. In an interview conducted amidst the conference's vibrant atmosphere, Huub reflects on the profound significance of AquaConSoil to him personally and shares his outlook on the conference's future direction.


What does the AquaConSoil conference mean to you?

"The AquaConSoil conference holds a special place in my heart. Even during my university years, I was deeply interested in Environmental Quality, particularly the quality of soils and water systems. This interest led me to pursue my PhD in the field. When I first learned about the AquaConSoil conference, then named ConSoil and focussing on contaminated soil, I was immediately drawn to it. I found inspiration not only in the research presented but also in the participation of end-users, technology providers, and government representatives. AquaConSoil has become a platform where academic research can intersect with the needs and interests of government and industry. This unique combination is what makes AquaConSoil a truly exceptional conference for me."

Could you elaborate on why you find the conference so special?

"AquaConSoil goes beyond addressing pollution issues; it delves into emerging topics like building sustainable societies and embracing circular economy principles.

This holistic approach is crucial in addressing contemporary environmental challenges, from chemical pollution to climate change impacts. Moreover, the conference's ability to adapt and tackle these pressing issues head-on makes it exceptionally special."

"Through AquaConSoil, we've forged a path towards sustainable solutions, blending science, policy, and industry interests. As I pass the torch, I'm confident our legacy will continue to thrive, guiding us towards a future of environmental stewardship and collaboration."

This year, you're passing on your chairmanship to Professor Coulon. What led to this decision, and why Professor Coulon?

"Transitioning chairmanship wasn't an easy decision for me, given my longstanding association with AquaConSoil. However, I felt it was time to pass the baton to a fresh perspective. Professor Coulon's expertise in sustainable soil and water management, coupled with his forward-thinking approach, made him the ideal candidate. Additionally, his international connections and diverse background will be instrumental in steering AquaConSoil towards new horizons.

It's been my pleasure to be the chairman and I'm confident that under Professor Coulon's leadership, AquaConSoil will continue to thrive and make meaningful contributions to our field."

Do you have any additional thoughts you'd like to share?

"I'd like to emphasize the importance of collaboration and inclusivity in addressing environmental challenges. Movements like Extinction Rebellion highlight the urgency of action, but lasting solutions require dialogue and cooperation across stakeholders. AquaConSoil exemplifies this collaborative spirit, bringing together diverse voices to drive positive change. As we look to the future, let's continue to prioritize inclusivity and collective action in our pursuit of environmental sustainability."

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