Half a Million Euros To Control The Proliferation Of Rats In Brussels

A pest management agency will be set up

Overal in Brussel zijn er ratten. Sinds 2001 is het aantal waarnemingen van ratten gestegen en worden ze op meer plekken waargenomen. De rattenplaag is een probleem dat op gewestelijke schaal moet worden aangepakt. Vandaag is rattenbestrijding vooral een gemeentelijke bevoegdheid, worden de krachten niet gebundeld en de kennis niet gedeeld. Dat zal binnenkort veranderen. De eerste stappen voor een Brusselse organisatie voor ongediertebestrijding zijn gezet, zo blijkt uit het antwoord van minister Maron op een schriftelijke vraag van Fouad Ahidar.

Renovation work on the Brunfaut residential tower in Molenbeek, which began in November 2009, revealed a huge population of rats. The tower had remained unoccupied for three years. The rats evacuated the building, but that doesn't mean the problem is resolved, as rat populations are moving quickly.

The response of Minister Maron to the written question from Fouad Ahidar (one.brussels) indicates an increase in reports of brown rats in BCR since 2001. This increase can be explained in part by the evolution of counting instruments, in particular by the development of an online data entry portal facilitating the inventory of reports. However, it can also be seen that the rat population has covered a larger area since 2001 and that reports of brown rats have been made where there were none before. The Brussels Region is currently putting the finishing touches to an Atlas of mammals which should allow better monitoring of harmful species, such as rats. 

The fight against the proliferation of rats must be carried out on several fronts simultaneously, and above all at the regional level. Because preventing rats from finding food, water and shelter in the region is not just the responsibility of the Minister of the Environment. This is a matter that goes beyond regional and municipal competences.

Fouad Ahidar (one.brussels):

"Fighting the rat infestation requires a combination of strong policies on cleanliness, housing and unoccupied buildings, good site management ... Take the white garbage bags. It's a real pest buffet twice a week, every time we take out our trash cans with leftover food. Or unoccupied buildings: Buildings must be professionally managed to keep pests out, but it would be even better not to have vacant buildings. Or the greenery in public spaces: it needs better maintenance, pruning shrubs, keeping berms clean. We need a common and uniform approach, at all levels. "

Taking measures at the municipal level remains a possibility, certainly in terms of cleanliness. Some municipalities offer their inhabitants solid and closed containers for the collection of household waste. This solution prevents the proliferation of rats and that wild animals open the bags to spread the contents on the sidewalk. But not all municipalities do. Orange containers for leftover food - yet available free of charge from the municipal administration or via a Regional Recyparc - are not yet sufficiently used.

Minister Maron's response to Fouad Ahidar's written question (one.brussels) indicates that a law firm is working to define a legal framework for the Brussels (regional) management agency and the effective implementation of the fight against harmful at the regional level. The first financial cost estimates for this creation amount to 520,000 euros. This amount includes the costs of six collaborators: a coordinator, three field collaborators, a supervisor and an external accountant.

The new management agency will not only focus on the brown rat but will also monitor the situation of a whole series of harmful species such as city pigeons, stray cats, invasive exotic species...

Fouad Ahidar (one.brussels):

“I would continue to insist in parliament for a strong policy on cleanliness, housing and unoccupied buildings. Because I want the people of Brussels to enjoy a clean environment and affordable housing. Fighting against building vacancies would also be another obstacle to the proliferation of rats. I hope the new regional agency can get started quickly. "