Urban Cleanliness Forum 2023: gathering stakeholders of the clean.brussels strategy!
This Tuesday, December 19, 2023, the BEL at Tour & Taxis hosted the annual Urban Cleanliness Forum, bringing together all stakeholders of the regional strategy and Bruxelles-Propreté, which coordinates the clean.brussels regional strategy. This event marked the first anniversary of the launch of the clean.brussels strategy, providing an opportunity to reflect on accomplishments and set new directions.
The Forum began with a speech from the Brussels Minister of Environment and Urban Cleanliness, Mr. Alain Maron, emphasizing that urban cleanliness is a common good. The Minister highlighted the need for a region sustainably cleaner through strengthened operational cooperation, a logic of stakeholder accountability (public authorities, businesses, public space users), and an ambitious policy on waste prevention and resource preservation. The Minister also praised the commitment of all participants to this crucial cause for the people of Brussels.
International inspiration was provided by the French city of Metz, represented by Régis Gabriel, Chief of Urban Cleanliness Service, sharing experiences from innovative projects in the Lorraine city, including the VIPARE project, a digital solution for quantifying, visualizing, and analyzing the cleanliness of a territory using artificial intelligence.
In the Flemish Region, concrete projects for urban cleanliness in Ghent were presented by Tijl De Cooman, Deputy Director of the Cleanliness Service, and Febe Van de Veire, advisor to the Ghent City cleanliness alderman. Ghent, home to over 260,000 inhabitants and nearly 75,000 students, faces cleanliness challenges similar to those encountered in Brussels. The cleanliness initiatives carried out there have proven to be particularly inspiring.
The second part of the Forum hosted a round table on "How to develop an effective repression policy in the Brussels-Capital Region?" with the participation of four domain experts: Chloé Hartman, Sanctioning Officer of the Jette municipality; Alain Martens, Director of Verbalization at Bruxelles-Propreté; Luc Poplimont, Chief Inspector of the Brussels-Ixelles Police Zone; and Tania Spruch, Deputy Head of Verbalization and Cleanliness Service at the City of Brussels. Together, they debated both individual controls conducted by each actor and coordinated controls, as well as the opportunity to harmonize sanctions and fine amounts per type of offense across the entire Region. The panellists agreed that it is necessary to crack down on incivilities relating to cleanliness, but that this should be seen as part of a more comprehensive policy that includes awareness-raising, education, prevention and the upkeep of public spaces.
Brussels initiatives were also highlighted, showcasing projects by engaged citizens and institutions for a cleaner city. Actions such as Canal It Up, advocating for a cleaner canal; Bruxelles-Propreté's mobile Recyparks; regional park sorting by Brussels Environment; beautification of tree planting pits by the City of Brussels; SNCB's fight against cigarette butts around train stations, and the Cleanliness Ambassadors of the Ganshoren municipality were presented, each in 180 seconds.
Before concluding, an interactive moment was dedicated to participants, using the Slido application to gather their views on the goals and impressions related to the clean.brussels strategy.
The closing remarks were given by Mr. Jos Raymenants, Deputy General Director of Bruxelles-Propreté, who concluded the 2023 Urban Cleanliness Forum by retrospectively discussing the activities of Bruxelles-Propreté throughout the ending year and outlining its perspectives and priorities for 2024.
The event ended with warm thanks to all participants, the actors involved in urban cleanliness in Brussels, and the Bruxelles-Propreté team for the successful organization. A closing drink provided an opportunity to continue discussions in a friendly setting, with a rendezvous set for 2024 to continue building a cleaner Brussels together.