Yorick Jansens

City authorities in Brussels intend to get tough on litter louts

Monday evening’s meeting of Brussels City Council approved a proposal tabled by the city’s ruling socialist-green coalition to drastically increase the level of fines issued to those caught littering the capital’s streets. In some cases the fines are being increased fourfold.

In future those caught discarding a cigarette butt on the streets of Brussels can expect a fine of 200 euro. This is a 400% increase on the previous 50 euro fine for the same offence. Those caught spitting out their chewing gum onto the pavement will now be fined 200 euro, rather than 100 euro as was previously the case.  The city authorities are also clamping down on fly tippers.

Those caught fly tipping will now be fined 500 euro/M³ of rubbish dumped. This figure increased to 1000 euro/M³ if the rubbish that is dumped illegally is building rubble or domestic chemical waste. Those caught spraying graffiti can also expect stiffer fines.

Previously the fine imposed was 150 euro/M³. This has now been increased to 500 euro/M³. The level of all of the fines mentioned above can be doubled is the offence is perpetrated in a park or other green area.   

At Monday’s council meeting the opposition on Brussels City Council (Francophone and Flemish liberals, Francophone Christian democrats, Flemish nationalists and the far-left PVDA/PTB+) questioned whether the fines would actually be imposed in practice.

The Green Alderman responsible for keeping the capital’s streets free of litter Zoubida Jellab responded to criticism from the opposition that since she took on the job last year the city has become even dirtier. “If the city is dirty then it is because people make it dirty and don’t respect it. This doesn’t mean that the city cleansing department isn’t doing its job”, Ms Jellab said.