Citizens step up battle against illegal dumping


Local organisations in Antwerp have committed to tackle fly-tipping, while youth groups in Brussels have spent the weekend clearing their streets

Charter signed

Seven associations in Antwerp have signed a charter with the city committing them to work to keep their neighbourhoods clear of fly-tipping.

The project in Borgerhout and Antwerp-North aims to tackle the illegal dumping of rubbish, from household garbage to furniture to construction waste, and also involves a premium for drinks packaging collected.

It was launched during a conference about fly-tipping in general and plastic waste in particular, which included screenings of the British documentary A Plastic Ocean, which illustrates the environmental consequences of plastic in the seas and in the food-chain of marine wildlife.

Clean-up services in Antwerp collect 5,400 tonnes of illegally dumped waste every year, at a cost to the city of €25 million. A large part of the waste finds its way directly into the Scheldt river via the sewers, waterways and the wind.

About 70% of the waste is plastic. Worldwide, annual dumping of plastic waste amounts to an estimated 10 million tonnes. The event also included a display of the Plastic Soupermarket project, a supermarket display made wholly of plastic objects collected from waterways (pictured).

Meanwhile, in Molenbeek in Brussels, three youth groups worked with municipal staff last Saturday to pick up rubbish dumped on Alphonse Vandepeereboomstraat. The action was timed to coincide with festivities in the Heyvaert quarter alongside the canal.

One side of the street has no houses, as the metro and train lines between Weststation and Beekkant run parallel. That situation leads to the regular dumping of rubbish.

The municipal services provided equipment, and the youth groups invited local people to make their own contribution to keeping their neighbourhood clean. That included hanging “anti-litter guards” on neighbouring trees – home-made masks that will symbolically keep an eye on activities in the area.
Photo courtesy
City of Antwerp