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'Bury your pants on 1 April for nature research'
Locals in Hainaut province are being asked to bury a pair of underpants in their garden on 1 April in the name of scientific research - and it's not an April Fool.
The cotton pants should be kept 15cm underground for two months - then dug up, left to dry and handed over for analysis.
The Plaines d'Escaut natural park is behind the unusual initiative, which aims to test the quality of the local soil.
If, after two months, the pants have plenty of holes in them, it is a good sign of worm appetite and shows that the soil is rich in micro-organisms.
The more holes, the healthier the soil. And the best pairs of holey pants will be displayed on a clothes line at a special exhibition.
The test is open to residents in Tournai and six neighbouring villages: Antoing, Beloeil, Bernissart, Brunehaut, Péruwelz and Rumes.
Locals who would prefer not to give up a perfectly useable item of underwear can pick up a free pair of pants from the natural park, donated by a nearby textile company.
Farmers will also be taking part and burying pants on their land. "We have been paying attention for quite a few years to how we best preserve the environment," a local farmer, Frank Cloet, said.
"We inherited the land from our parents and we want to give fertile land to our children."