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Refuse in Brussels: more recycle parks and swifter fines for fly-tippers

Refuse in Brussels: more recycle parks and swifter fines for fly-tippers

Each day municipal workers in the Brussels
municipality of Schaarbeek collect 19 tons of refuse.  Most of this waste has been dumped illegally.
In Anderlecht the situation is slightly better: only 18 tons a day. The annual
figure for the City of Brussels is 2,500 tons, while in leafier suburbs like
Ukkel the figure is a mere 2 tons a day – a world of a difference.

Brussels politicians, residents and refuse
workers are sounding the alarm. The amount of waste has continued to increase
over the years.  The amount of illegally dumped
waste collected by the regional authorities increased by 30% between 2017 and
2021. 

A comparison with other big cities is difficult
due to a lack of data, but in a city like Antwerp only 14,000 tons of illegally
dumped waste is collected each year. Brussels looks dirty, especially because
much of the waste is dumped in busy areas like the South Station neighbourhood.

An investigation by VRT’s Pano programme
showed the people supposed to tackle this mountain of illegal waste simply can’t
cope: binmen, street cleaners and the teams trying to increase public awareness
and write out fines. Yves Bertiaux of the refuse agency Net Brussel concedes: “It’s
a disaster.  There is no respect for our
staff”.

Brussels environment
minister Alain Maron (Francophone green) hopes to tackle the situation by speeding
up the collection of fines and bypassing public prosecutors. Mr Maron wants
refuse collection services to be able to collect fines from May 2023.  “At the minute fines have to go via the
prosecutor’s office and in that way, we waste a lot of time before we can fine fly-tippers”.

The
minister says significant investments have been made, but the results are
poor.  He has now tabled a new plan “Clean
Brussels” that includes 65 points of action. The regional authorities plan more
CCTV, fewer collections to encourage better sorting of waste, more co-operation
between municipalities and a doubling on recycle parks from 5 to 10.

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