Do you know where the sea begins? In the city is where it actually starts, at every manhole and gutter. These are the places to which surface runoff and road cleaning water drain.
The City is raising awareness of the importance of keeping water drains clear
From March onwards, the City will be installing "Here the sea begins" plaques throughout the municipality. Eventually, two hundred enamelled lava stone slabs measuring 15cm x 15cm will be displayed in front of certain problematic drains. Their purpose is clear: To make inhabitants and visitors to the City aware of where our waste ends up, and to remind them, in a permanent, sustainable way, that they should never throw their waste into the gutters.
Waste that falls into water drains ends up in the sea
Citizens often treat drains as rubbish bins, throwing their cigarette butts and other small waste into them. Large waste is prevented from entering the drains thanks to an internal filter. Unfortunately though, this isn’t enough to stop smaller items of rubbish, such as cigarette butts and small plastic wrappers, or liquid products, such as oils, paints and other dangerous products, getting through. Some residents also dispose of the dead leaves that litter their pavements or driveways in the drains. Big mistake! If the gutters are blocked, surface water is unable to drain away and the roads will flood.
Where does the waste that passes through the drain filter end up?
After passing through the drain filter, the waste drops into the sewer system. Items that are large enough may be filtered out at the water treatment facility. Otherwise, they end up in the river, which eventually carries them... out to sea. There, they join the many tons of waste already floating around, polluting the water and threatening aquatic organisms. Find out more about the impact on fauna and flora here (in FR and NL): https://environnement.brussels/citoyen/nos-actions/projets-et-resultats/cours-deau-et-pollution
Which item is most commonly found at sea?
Unsurprisingly, cigarette butts are the most common items found at sea! Followed by plastic bottles and plastic packaging. This is why it is important to reduce consumption of single-use products and opt for reusable items. If you’d like to take a look at the list of the top ten items most commonly found at sea, you’ll find it here: https://oceanconservancy.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/2020-ICC-Report_Web_FINAL-0909.pdf