A study conducted by Brussels’ public cleaning agency found that cigarette butts made up just under a third of the litter scattered throughout of the capital.
Bruxelles-Propreté conducted a litter count in neighbourhoods across Brussels, in areas like Gare du Midi, Place Flagey, Gare du Nord and Avenue de la Toison d’Or.
The agency found that cigarette butts accounted for, on average, 30 per cent of the litter gathered from those neighbourhoods.
The study, conducted over the single month of April, was carried out on the count of the Brussels Region, who commissioned it as part of a measure pushed last year to make cigarette companies foot a part of the city’s cleaning bill.
In October 2018, Brussels secretary of state for public cleanliness Fadila Laanan had asked three cigarette groups to contribute 203,000€ to the city’s fight against litter in its streets.
Cigarette maker Philip Morris together with Belgian industry federations Cimabel and Fetabel, had agreed to the measure if the city could provide concrete figures to justify the amount asked from them.
“In my view, the reality of Brussels largely justifies the amount of 203,00€,” Laanan said last year, citing a separate study which had found that 26 per cent of Belgians were smokers.
The most recent study aims to serve as a basis on which to establish long-term cooperation between the region and the tobacco industry, according to French-language daily La Dernière Heure.
“Cigarette butts are one of the main nuisances singled out by Bruxelles-Proprété on the issue of public cleanliness,” Laanan said. “I think it is essential to take action on this situation.”