"30 percent of the litter collected by our street cleaners are cigarette ends", explains Zoubida Jellab of the Francophone greens. It's not only about a clean city, it's also about the environment, she adds: the butts contain hundreds of chemicals, they contaminate our seas and decompose very slowly - this takes about 15 years. Moreover, it's hard for street cleaners to remove them when they have become wet.
"Our main intention to make smokers more aware of the problem. It's not about collecting as much cash as possible", she told our colleagues of the Francophone public broadcaster RTBF.
Those flouting the ban risk a fine of 50 euros at present. As from 1 January, this will become 200 euros. That is, if you are caught red-handed by a city officer. The number of civil servants checking smokers will be brought to 9, coming from 6. Note that at present, police officers can also catch you red-handed; in that case the fine would be 250 euros, an amount that remains unchanged.