Collecting garbage with Leo Not Happy / by Kwinten Lambrecht

Brussels is a fantastic place to live but apparently a great city for illegal garbage dumping as well. In many areas of Brussels people literally leave the house and can 'enjoy' a magnificent collection of garbage in front of their door. Not only 'normal' garbage like white plastic bags, no, also toilets, construction waste, food, cans, sofas, you name it!

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It makes me very unhappy that fellow Brusselers are not ashamed to trash their own streets, to attract rats, to make this an unhappy place to live in. And that made 'Leo Not Happy' either. Leo Not Happy is the alter ego of Adel, an engaged citizen who wants to raise awareness about the garbage problem in Brussels. With his Facebook page, Leo Not Happy organises garbage collections with citizens from various areas in Brussels.

And with success! Because this time my (our!) neighbourhood was at the centre of attention. With 50 other Brusselers we took the streets for 2,5 hours from Lemonnier to Anneessens, Boulevard du Midi and Boulevard de l'Abattoir. It's sad to say, but it was quite a success: we found waste between cars, around trees, thousands of cigarette stubs (which are considered as 'legal garbage' I guess!) around bars, sofa's, beds, construction materials, glass,...

With the help of the cleaning services of the City of Brussels (!), who provided bags, gloves, a truck and other accessories we made Brussels clean for a while.

It was enormously rewarding to see citizens from all ages, languages, origins and even municipalities to fight for a cause. People that passed by even said 'thank you'. And that's what it's all about; changing the habits of citizens, making them think twice when they throw away their cigarette, almost re-educate them in a way that it will also benefit them. Combined with repressive measures such as cameras re-education should be a priority, and we thank Leo Not Happy for that!