Put that garbage bag away…

  • Among the issues discussed by the government this weekend in Liège: cleanliness.
  • Brussels is one of the last European cities where garbage bags are taken out to the curb.  Not for long?

One of the legislative period’s highlights might be the fight against uncleanliness by ridding the main thoroughfares of the capital of the piles of garbage bags that encroach on the sidewalks and degrade Brussels’ image. The secretary of state of cleanliness, Rachid Madrane (PS) who was nominated last December to replace Emir Kir (now mayor of Saint-Josse-ten-Noode), never hid his keen interest in instituting garbage containers. “In Paris, most buildings include garbage receptacle areas. This isn’t possible in Brussels where living areas aren’t configured the same way,” he says.  “Brussels is one of the last European cities where trash bags are put on the curb. This could clearly contribute to the feeling of dirtiness in the city.”

That’s how the socialist got the idea for garbage containers. A first test run was implemented last spring in the Bastion square area of Ixelles by the Porte de Namur subway exit. Previously, garbage from the subway station accumulated on the roads awaiting collection – very unglamorous in this popular area in the upper part of the city. “Since we installed the containers, the area surrounding the station appeared much cleaner, and the results were noticeable the first week,” He has since decided to widen use of containers. We know they will soon appear in Brussels Center between the northern area and the Gare du Midi station. The Brussels Cleanliness Agency was delegated the task of evaluating the amount of garbage that needed to be handled and, therefore, the number of pickups to schedule. Just as with Bastion, only the subway and pre-subway stations along with their businesses will be included in this experiment.

How about John and Jane Doe? They haven’t been forgotten. And they will find out very soon. An agreement was made with the community of Ixelles to place containers along part of the Matonge area including the gallery and part of Chaussée de Wavre as well as the LongueVie pedestrian walkway. These containers will be accessible by the businesses as well as the inhabitants and all of this in a very densely populated neighborhood. “We will be able to learn a lot from this experience”. Before making the system widespread? Not likely, because of the means needed to implement it. The idea would be more to develop this concept in several neighborhoods and zones in the capital near commercial areas for example. We can also think about using urban development as a motive by requiring containers when new buildings are constructed or existing ones are renovated.

■ PATRICE LEPRINCE

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