Sun and rubbish: not a happy mix!

The intense heat in the interior and fine weather forecast for the coast meant that the Flemish Riviera was in for a bumper weekend.  On Saturday and Sunday the Belgian coast welcomed 325,000 daytrippers, but locals are nagging about the amount of litter visitors leave behind.

 Liesbeth Billiet of the West Flemish tourist authority Westtoer says the hospitality industry is chuffed by the custom it received: "Due to the tropical temperatures inland lots of people hoped to cool down on the coast.  The start of the holiday season meant numerous events were planned too."

If it was busy in the promenade cafes and beach bars life guards too had their hands full.  In Ostend a girl was pulled from the waves after she got into difficulty in a guarded zone.  Emergency services reanimated the child on the beach before taking her to hospital for further care.  Her condition is stable.

Large quantities of rubbish were left behind on the beach after people stayed on the beach until late in the evening.  Bins are emptied at 5PM and no later. Dreadful photos of the rubbish on the beach were posted on social media.

Local Mayor Daphne Dumery (Blankenberge) is not happy with the situation: "I think it's dreadful.  I'd prefer not to see photos like that on social media because I know that our municipal workers are busy from 6AM in the morning to get the beaches clean by 10AM."

The mayor believes it's virtually impossible to hand out nuissance fines for fly-tipping as the identity of the tipper is hard to establish.