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Video: Leo Not Happy seeks volunteers to collect 30,000 cigarette butts in Brussels

Apr 16, 2017
0
Big clean-up on Saturday afternoon aims to raise awareness and change attitudes towards litter in the city

You cannot walk a few metres in Brussels without seeing a discarded cigarette butt on the ground. Now a group of socially minded people determined to clean up Brussels are inviting volunteers to help them collect 30,000 butts in downtown Brussels this Saturday afternoon.

Since it was set up a year ago, Leo Not Happy has organised five clean-ups - attracting anywhere between 25 and 100 volunteers - and between them they have collected more than three tonnes of waste.

It all began when founder Adel Saebi began taking photos of litter on the city's streets, accompanied by a small cardboard box with an unhappy face on it. The name Leo Not Happy is a nod to Leonardo Dicaprio's 2016 Oscars acceptance speech about climate change.

"There is too much trash in our streets," Saebi told The Bulletin. "I wanted to create a link between the environment and social media. I said to myself; what can I do with social media, how can I use it to make Brussels better, to make our lives better?

"Before all this, I was actually a part of keeping the city dirty. When I was out drinking with my friends and I didn't find a bin next to me I would say: OK, some people will come and clean it. The authorities have cleaning staff. But that's not the right way.

"I want to show to people that if we create a community, if we believe in something, we can change something. We don't have to wait for change."

Previous projects have included a clean-up on Ostend beach and at Vanderkindere tram stop in Uccle. The volunteer litter-pickers will meet at the Place de la Monnaie in downtown Brussels on 22 April at 13.00 with the aim of picking up 30,000 discarded cigarette butts in just a few hours.

"We're trying to find an artist who can do something with it," says Saebi. "We're going to put a huge cylinder on the Place de la Bourse and we will see how many cigarette butts we will collect." The filled cylinder will remain in place for a few weeks "to draw attention to this plague".

Volunteers should register by email at leonothappy@gmail.com - mentioning your name and the number of participants in your group. The only item you need to bring is an empty water bottle. The City of Brussels will provide gloves and disposable pocket ashtrays to hand out to smokers.

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