Fewer garbage collections? Mayors unhappy with 'Clean Brussels' plan

Fewer garbage collections? Mayors unhappy with 'Clean Brussels' plan
Waste collector. Credit: Belga

The cleanliness plan ‘Clean Brussels’ by Environment Minister Alain Maron has not been received well with Brussels mayors, as the two main stumbling blocks are the reduction of white bag garbage collection and the management of cleaning regional roads.

Mayor of Berchem-Sainte-Agathe, Christian Lamouline, raised the issue of reducing garbage collection, as Berchem will be among the first municipalities to have to go from two collections to one collection per week for white bags, La Capitale reports.

Garbage collection

“At the moment, the Bruxelles-Propreté Agency does not properly clean the regional roads. Every week, there are more and more collections that are not being done. Streets are forgotten,” Lamouline pointed out.

“When there are problems, it is up to the municipality to remedy. Similarly, when Bruxelles-Propreté goes on strike, there is no information. Sometimes there is a catch-up collection at night, sometimes not. Residents therefore leave their bags outside. And fortunately there is a second collection a few days later. The day when there will only be one collection per week, it will be disastrous.”

“It is important to first ensure that the sorting is done before reducing the number of collections. It doesn’t happen in the right order,” he concluded.

‘Anti-social measures’

The same goes for Anderlecht, according to mayor Fabrice Cumps. “This will be a difficult measure, especially for very dense districts of the town where the accommodation is not large,” he said.

The Mayor of Etterbeek, Vincent De Wolf, agrees and adds that the measures are “anti-social”. He says the problem concerns the management of regional roads, as those responsibilities were shifted to the Region. In return, the municipalities were allowed to direct regional cleanliness.

“This meant that cleaners remained in the Region but under municipal authority. But this was never implemented. And this is one of the cleanliness concerns in Brussels today,” explains De Wolf.

He explains that Brussels-Clean workers have a finished-finished policy, meaning they can leave as soon as they finished their collection round. “Most of them have a second job as a result. To go as quickly as possible, they throw the bags, these explode and are not picked up.”

“In addition, some streets are forgotten and the remaining bags are ripped open by foxes or crows. So there are a lot of problems to be solved,” De Wolf continues.

Ahmed Laaouej, the Mayor of Koekelberg, agrees. “The regional roads are dirty. And I don't see what will improve that in the plan,” he said.

Reduction of collections

They also address the reduction of collections. “Ideally, it is feasible to move to one collection per week. But we are not ideal. If we reduce to one collection of white bags per week, people will have to sort in yellow, blue and orange bags,” De Wolf said.

“But this requires an adaptation time which is estimated between zero to two years to acquire the reflexes. Wanting to switch immediately to one collection per week is premature,” he continued.

Laaouej adds: “I am very worried about collecting the bags once a week. We do not take into account the inhabitants who live with four or five people in 50m² apartments, who can then only take out their garbage cans once a week. The social dimension is absent from the plan.”


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