May 26, 2024

Taylor Daily Press

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Mayor Sven Dekkers surprises with goodwill Willem (9) in 4th grade: “I was very impressed by your message about waste control” (Brecht)

Mayor Sven Dekkers surprises with goodwill Willem (9) in 4th grade: “I was very impressed by your message about waste control” (Brecht)

In his letter, Willem demanded more waste control over Brecht: “When I cycle through Brecht, I notice a lot of waste. Do you want to do something more about it? I don’t have to write back if I’m so busy.”

In fact, the mayor did not reply, but he personally came to Willem’s class. “I read your letter and was moved by it. That’s why I’m here. I also gave five pieces of advice: ban waste on the street, introduce packaging-free sections of stores, install more trash cans, put Mooimakers more into the picture and organize a clean-up drive with a party and contest,” she said. Sven Dekkers.

“We are already working with the Mooimakers. We can certainly organize a clean-up. Will you all join in?” his colleagues asked. They wholeheartedly agreed.

Mayor Sven Dekkers agreed with the students to organize a clean-up campaign.© Elke Lamens

Save life on this planet

The mayor also brought gifts to Willem: a bee hotel and a waste book. “I am very happy about this,” he said cheerfully. “I didn’t expect it at all, but it’s really good that the mayor himself has come to our side.”

Willem is very fascinated by everything related to space and our planet. “I have a box full of books on this subject at home. I read them a lot. That way I know our planet can’t really collapse, but life on it can die out. I want to prevent that.”

This is why he organizes a clean-up in his neighborhood on his own, on average, once a month. “I always find a lot of waste both in Eyndovensteenweg and in Tilburgbaan. A lot of plastic bags, cans, bottles and even tires. It was on the side of the road,” he says, somewhat surprised.

With the waste Willem finds, he makes new things like coasters from crown caps.© Elke Lamens

Not only does Willem pick up waste, he also gets creative with it. “For example, I’ve already made several bottle cap coasters that I picked up. I stick them on a wooden board. And I want to sell them for the World Wildlife Fund,” he promises.

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A mental change is required

Mayor Dekkers praises Willem’s efforts: “Garbage is still a topical topic. You see it everywhere and it makes a lot of people angry. It’s good that young people think differently about this and want to do something about it.”

Perhaps the mentality of citizens will change for the better in the long run. In our municipality there are more than 300 garbage cans. Two people work three days a week to empty them and clean up the trash around them. Unfortunately, illegal dumping still exists,” he notes.

“If a school wants to do a clean-up campaign, we fully support that,” confirms Des Capetijn from the Department of Sustainability. “This year, six more schools are enrolled in the Mooimakers’ Proper process. Then we support with trash bags, stakes, gloves and fluorescent jackets. We collect waste within 24 hours. But not only schools, individuals can also order it from us.”

Willem received a hotel for bees and a book about waste heroes from Mayor Sven Dekkers.© Elke Lamens

Meanwhile, Willem has sent a message to Prime Minister Alexander de Croo (Open Vld). “I asked for more meetings about waste, just as they did about nitrogen issues,” he explains. But will he also come to his class? “Maybe not, but I didn’t expect that from the mayor either,” he laughs hopefully.

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Mayor Deckers pays a surprise visit to Master Tim’s fourth class, where Willem Vervoort is sitting.© Elke Lamens