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Awareness campaign launched to keep Brussels' parks clean and tidy

Image shows people enjoying the summer in Bois de la Cambre - Ter Kamerenbos in Brussels, May 2021. (BELGA PHOTO NICOLAS MAETERLINCK)
05:57 20/07/2021

Brussels' parks are struggling to cope with the numbers of visitors they receive – and the waste they leave behind.  From January to May of this year, twice as much rubbish was collected than in the whole of 2020. This, of course, has major consequences for the environment.

The problem has led city agencies Brussels Environment, Bruxelles Propreté and Fost Plus to launch a major awareness campaign aimed at reminding visitors of their responsibility. The campaign, #Wearepark.brussels, which began on Monday, focuses on the emotional connection that Brussels residents often have with the park in their neighbourhood. The campaign runs until 11 September.

The relaxing of coronavirus restrictions and the onset of summer has led to 213 tonnes of waste being collected in the first five months of this year as people swarm the capital’s green spaces in search of fresh air and freedom. While the visitors themselves are welcome, their rubbish is not. "This situation cannot continue as it is because it has an impact on the beauty of the parks, as well as the fauna and flora and, more generally, the environment," the Brussels Environment agency reported.

In a bid to keep on top of the trash, 53 seasonal employees, including park rangers and street cleaners, will strengthen the existing regional teams until the end of September, doubling the number of clean-up teams seen in previous years.

But cleanliness of public spaces is everyone’s responsibility so the #Wearepark.brussels campaign is featuring local residents on its posters with the message: "Waste in the rubbish bin or take it home." That message also began spreading on social media, T-shirts, and paper bags as well as stickers for windows, counters and fridges in the shops near the parks.

In parallel, local organisations which use the parks for their activities will organise clean-up actions with their members and participants.

Finally, awareness-raising actions are planned in the capital’s parks every weekend, until mid-September. For example, a cargo bike will cross the parks to collect waste and make people aware of how important cleanliness is, while disposable ashtrays will be handed out to smokers and other actions will take place at the summer bars to remind people of the fines imposed for dropping litter. Those fines can be up to €350.

Written by Nick Amies