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The 10 filthiest spots in Brussels, in order

20:22 29/04/2019

Brussels news site Bruzz has launched a Clean Week in an effort to help neighbourhoods clean up their acts by putting a stop to dumping and depositing litter where it belongs. In the lead up to today’s launch of the week, the media outlet asked its readers to tell them where the dirtiest places in the capital could be found.

“On the basis of the emotive, sometimes nauseating, descriptions, illustrative photos and desperate cries for help,” wrote Bruzz on its website, “we have compiled a list of 10 of the filthiest corners of the city.”

Bruzz staff and freelancers are now busy cleaning up one of the spots and hope to move on to more. (Though certainly it’s hoping that authorities in these neighbourhoods will lend a hand in cleaning up these nauseating streets.)

The 10 sites are spread among seven municipalities, with two municipalities figuring twice: Schaerbeek (thanks to North Station) and Anderlecht, which let’s be fair, is larger than the others.

Without further ado, the 10 grossest spots in the city are:

10. Rue Nestor Martin in Berchem-Sainte-Agathe

While this is a generally clean municipality, it has some pockets that are beyond belief. Residents are clearly using streets to the northeast of the train station as dumping spots, which has in turn encouraged some residents of Flanders to cross the border into Brussels and dump crap here. They also buy rubbish bags in Brussels, which are cheaper, fill them up and leave them here.

According to one resident, contact with local politicians has led to nothing, and city workers have placed big tarps around the area to hide it – rather than cleaning it up.

9. Matonge (Ixelles)

The biggest problem here is the constant pile of rubbish bags and illegal dumping at the entrance to the Galerie Matongé shopping centre (previously the Galerie d’Ixelles) on Chaussée de Wavre. Apparently this stuff is regularly set on fire to get rid of it. A place where the homeless sleep, the entryway is full of their belongings and smell of cigarette smoke, urine – and worse.

8. The Marolles (Brussels-City)

The famous flea market leaves behind trash every day, which apparently gives some residents the idea that they should dump their rubbish in the street as well. And the area’s well-known elevator is, according to one resident, left to its own devices. “The glass is never cleaned, there is always urine on the ground, and there is dust and grease everywhere from the elevator’s mechanism. What a situation!”

7. Cureghem (Anderlecht)

Here it’s the area around the Porte d’Anderlecht and the surrounding neighbourhood that got many nominations. The small Rue de la Poterie and the Rue Plantin are particularly bad. One resident told Bruzz that there “is no street filthier than mine” and that, after four years of “metres-high trash”, he’s decided to move.

6. Brussels South Station (Saint-Gilles)

You saw this coming. The exterior of the station is still a constant source of dismay for residents of the neighbourhood and commuters alike. The surrounding streets are also problematic, with residents reporting drivers constantly tossing things out of cars. Following the popular Sunday market at the station, plastic and other trash is everywhere.

5. Osseghem-Beekkant-Brussels West (Molenbeek)

The areas along these metro and train tracks are swimming in rubbish, and the Rue Alphoonse Vandenpeereboom is a hot-spot for fly-tippers. Bruzz staff got to work last week having bigger dumped items hauled away from this street and cleaning up the rest. In nearby streets, meanwhile, it’s not uncommon to see household items dumped and car parts dumped along the streets and pavements. Rats are at home  here.

4. Duchesse Brabant Square, Molenbeek

Molenbeek’s second horrible spot is the Duchesse Brabant Square. Crossed by the Chaussée de Ninove. It’s a favourite place to dump household garbage but also furniture, mattresses, etc.

3. Brabant neighbourhood, Schaerbeek

The Rue de Brabant, which leads to Place Liedts, and the neighbouring streets is a favourite place to hate for area residents. “A combination of anti-social, marginal activity and no one doing anything about it has resulted – despite the constant presence of streetcleaners – as a permanent dumping ground,” said one resident.

Residents did report that the smell of urine was largely absent in the streets, though they attribute it to the entire neighbourhood being used as a toilet and not just their streets.

2. Rue des Goujons, Anderlecht

Since the bridge at Rue de la Petite Île closed, the neighbourhood around the Rue des Goujons has become a dumping ground. It’s a rather desolate area and never checked by authorities. According to local residents, vans and trucks stop by to dump trash here daily. Construction waste is particularly popular, but there’s also glass, old clothes and even abandoned vehicles. Now the homeless have begun building makeshift huts here and burn fires outside.

That sounds pretty bad, right? But no, it’s still not the worst. The number one dirtiest, smelliest spot in Brussels is:

1. North Station (Schaerbeek)

As the bus mall in the station’s tunnel is home to many newly arrived migrants and transmigrants, this is no surprise. Many people essentially live here and have no facilities, such as waste disposal, refrigeration or toilets. Add all those together, and you can imagine the permanent stench.

However, above ground, North Station also gets much criticism. Litter on the tracks is rampant, and the rubbish bins are overflowing. People have reported seeing rats.

All photos courtesy Bruzz

Written by Lisa Bradshaw



Plastic bags should be replaced by bins.

Apr 30, 2019 08:46

I disagree with you Shirley. Visit a big city in a country that uses bins for collecting trash (like mine) and you'll see the town dotted with those monstrosities every 50 meters. I rather prefer the nuisance of seeing rubbish bags in the streets for few hours one specific day of the week than having the freedom of dumping unchecked bags in metal containers which do not push people to recycle as we should.

I think Singapore got it right. Education, street cameras and 500 SGD fine for illegal dumping. The city is cleaner than the plate we eat on.

Apr 30, 2019 10:33