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30 fines a day for illegal dumping in Brussels

19:15 02/05/2019

Bruzz news site stirred up a storm this week with its list of the 10 worst places in Brussels for illegal dumping of trash and other waste. But it hasn’t stopped there. Now it has published how many fines are actually being administered by each municipality.

There are, it turns out, about 30 fines a day sent to those who can be identified. Each municipality is responsible for its own waste and dumping problems, and the figures vary greatly per municipality.

Of the 14 municipalities that provided figures, Schaerbeek handed out the most fines (2,345), and Saint-Gilles handed out the most per 1,000 residents. Those two municipalities as well as Forest were the only ones that administered more than 15 fines a year per 1,000 residents.

It is unclear whether the figures are an indication of how great the problem is in these communes or whether the communes are more on top of the problem than others. Considering Schaerbeek and Saint-Gilles are home to notoriously rubbish-ridden train stations, it could easily be the former.

In any case, the communes admit that the fines aren’t doing much to solve the problem. “Sadly, we still see a lot of illegal dumping,” Saint-Gilles city councillor for waste told Bruzz. “That’s possibly because so many people pass through here, via South Station.”

Schaerbeek stepped up its efforts, hiring more people to identify and follow up on illegal dumping and tripling the number of fines it sent out between 2017 and 2018. While it hasn’t slowed down dumping, “it’s not getting worse,” said waste city councillor Deborah Lorenzino. “The challenge is that dumping usually happens after dark, quite anonymously. If we have a campaign about dog mess, for instance, dog owners discuss it with each other. That kind of contact doesn’t happen with people who are dumping.”

Photo: Jonas Hamers/ImageGlobe

Written by Lisa Bradshaw