Wallonia's ‘Big Clean’ returns in May to tackle littering

Wallonia's ‘Big Clean’ returns in May to tackle littering
Credit: Be WaPP

More than 88,000 people will come together between 5 and 8 May in Wallonia to pick up waste and rubbish from the region's roadsides and green spaces.

The event, organised every year by Belgian non-profit organisation Be WaPP, aims to improve the local environment in Wallonia and help reunite the community after nearly two years of anti-epidemic measures. The organisers want to see greater civilian participation in tackling litter and pollution.

“Our behaviours have significant repercussions on the environment and we all have a role to play in preserving it,” a Be WaPP spokesperson said.

“It is, therefore, important to act and mobilise around a common objective: to make our living spaces, our villages, our cities our neighbourhoods cleaner.”

According to the organisation, a positive trend is being noted by people taking part in the initiative, as less and less litter is being found along Wallonia’s roadsides by volunteers.

“Year after year, we see a clear reduction in the amount of waste collected per kilometre,” said Be WaPP's Valérie Cartiaux. “We have gone from 38kg of waste collected per kilometre in 2017 to 16kg in 2021, which represents a reduction of 57%.”

Walloons get stuck in

This year, participating citizens, associations, businesses, and local administrations will also focus on collecting waste near rivers, many of which are still in a state of disrepair following the fatal floods in July 2021.

“Waste continued to be carried by the flooding on the banks of the rivers, not to mention the waste that is thrown into toilets, gullies, and banks that can end up in the river,” the organisers explained.

This year’s event is expected to be one of the largest clean-ups to date. In 2021, the event attracted just over 80,000 participants. In 2022, organisers are expecting over 88,490 people to take part.

The event has attracted large numbers of school groups and teachers. Namur teacher Stéphanie described the clean-up as a “real practical exercise in learning citizenship” for her students.

The event also encourages corporate participation, often organised as a corporate outing. Last year, around 120 companies took part, accounting for more than 2,000 employees.

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Unfortunately, the deadline for sign-ups for the clean-up this year has already passed, but Belgians can still get involved in the event.

Well-wishers can share news about the operation online, through social media, and share personalised posters available on Be WaPP’s website. And of course, anyone can help by putting their rubbish in the right bin. A map of all the local clean-ups in Wallonia can also be found online on the organiser’s website.


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