Anderlecht residents are sounding the alarm about an illegal dumping problem which they said has reached a problematic new high and has turned their municipality into an "open-air dumpsite."
Public cleaning agency Bruxelles Propreté said that it had received a total of 809 illegal dumping complaints in Anderlecht, the highest number recorded among all Brussels municipalities throughout 2018.
A community Facebook group titled "Anderlecht open-air dumpsite" said that they had filed a petition signed by thousands to local authorities asking for a solution to the problem, which they said worsened over the summer.
"Anderlecht has always been dirty, but the situation has peaked since this summer," Olivier Van Veerdegem, an organiser of the Facebook group, told La Dernière Heure. "There are illegal dumpings absolutely everywhere."
A regular flow of posts in the group documents the extent of the problem, with uploaded pictures showing cloisters of unsorted trash scattered at the foot of bins intended for the disposal of glass.
"We demand the rapid removal of all illegal dumpings signalled [on the page]," Van Veerdegem said, adding that authorities also needed to provide "real" means for residents to dispose of cumbersome waste.
The group said that authorities had received their petition, and local councillor for public cleanliness said that measures including the creation of more public cleaning jobs had been undertaken in past months to improve the situation.
"Unfortunately, large clandestine deposits remain because we are still missing a driver and a truck," councillor Allan Neuzy said, according to the outlet.
After Anderlecht, the municipalities of Molenbeek and Brussels 1000 are the most plagued by public dumpings, with, respectively, 576 and 559 complaints registered in 2018, a gap of over 200 fewer complaints than in Anderlecht.
The figures released by Bruxelles Propreté nevertheless show the problem is receding throughout Brussels, according to the outlet, with a global reduction rate of 9% led by the municipality of Etterbeek which last year reduced the number of illegal dumpings by more than half.
The Brussels Times