Alain Verschueren, a Belgian artist and social worker, has been strolling through Brussels wearing a "portable oasis" - a plexiglass mini-greenhouse which rests on his shoulders, cocooning him in a bubble of air purified by the aromatic plants inside.

Verschueren, 61, developed the idea 15 years ago, inspired by the lush oases in Tunisia where he had previously worked.

In the Belgian capital, where face coverings are mandatory to curb the spread of Covid-19, his invention has gained a new lease of life.

"When I first created these portable oases, it was about creating a bubble in which I could lock myself away to cut myself off a world if I found it too dull, too noisy or smelly," Verschueren said.

"As time went by, I noticed that people were coming up to me and talking to me. This isolation became much more a way of connecting [with others]," he added.

Verschueren says he has asthma and finds breathing within his contraption more comfortable than wearing a facemask.

Onlookers in Brussels appeared amused and confused by the man wandering between the shops - mostly closed due to Covid-19 restrictions - encased in a pod of thyme, rosemary and lavender plants.

Verschueren said he hoped to encourage people to take better care of the environment, to reduce the need to protect ourselves from air and noise pollution.