At street or district level, the “Ambassadeurs de la Propreté/Ambassadors of Cleanliness” will regularly and voluntarily collect litter. Thousand of citizens, associations and enterprises go into action across Wallonia.
The craze is unprecedented. Close on 1.400 teams have already signed up on the website of “Wallonie Plus Propre”. Put another way, more than 7,000 people, everyday citizens or members of a company or association team, have already volunteered to collect litter dropped in public spaces.
To do ‘the job’, the ambassadors receive specific equipment. The package being sent to their home will contain a fluorescent jacket and an armband stamped ‘Ambassadeur de la Propreté’ together with a pair of gloves. Add to this a grabber claw for three people, to allow them to collect small waste such as cigarette butts without having to bend down. Finally, each team will also receive a roll of 10 blue bags and one of 10 transparent bags, recognisable by the inscription ‘Ambassadeur de la Propreté’, making it possible to limit potential abuses. When the ambassadors are short on bags, they can re-order some through their account on the website.
Each municipality has a complete vision of the teams of ambassadors in action on its territory. It knows the details of the team leaders, the number of volunteers and the precise delineation of the cleaning zone chosen by these ambassadors. The municipal coordinator will contact the ambassadors to agree on how to collect the bags once they have been filled.
In general, these areas are well known to the volunteers, and they are keen to keep them clean for the long term. ‘Some Walloon municipalities are very extensive. Municipal workers concentrate on where there are the most problems. They don’t have the opportunity to visit every corner of the municipality. It’s a matter of human resources and cost,’ explains Benoit Bastien, coordinator of the Be WaPP unit. ‘Thus, the citizen-ambassadors will support the municipal workers by picking up small waste such as bits of paper, cans, cardboard, plastic and cigarette butts. As regards illegal deposits, their simple notification to the municipality is sufficient to ensure that arrangements are made for their removal. There is no doubt that this citizen’s momentum will help maintain public cleanliness and allow the link between the municipality and its constituents to be strengthened.’