Tougher action against polluters: 250 euros for spitting out chewing gum
Anyone who snaps his cigarette on the street or spits a bubble gum on the sidewalk must soon expect hefty fines. In some cities it gets really expensive.
Higher fines, more controls, larger garbage pails, new reusable systems: Various German cities have recently been working against waste on the streets. In some municipalities of Baden-Wuerttemberg, for example, it will be much more expensive in the future to spit the gum on the ground, to throw away the cigarette butt, or simply to leave the dog feces behind. A new fine catalog of the country now provides for such environmental sins a framework of up to 250 euros. So far, such offenses had been prosecuted only 10 to 20 euros.
Mannheim has increased the fines in early April to reopen a newly renovated shopping mall. Anyone who throws away a fag in the city in the future, now threatens 75 euros penalty, the disposal of a chewing gum can even cost up to 250 euros. For not rescued dog excrement, the municipality imposed 100 to 250 euros fine.
The Bavarian city of Augsburg has last increased in June 2018. Since then, she asks everyone who throws garbage on the floor and is caught doing it, with at least 40 euros to checkout. That has shown effect. The situation is better - on streets and squares there is less waste around than before the increase.
"Apart from punishments, the cities generally oppose the littering and damming of public spaces with other instruments," reports deputy managing director of the German Association of Cities, Verena Göppert. "These include, for example, action days to clean up public spaces and clean-up campaigns." But it must also be clear: "Anyone who deliberately pollutes public areas must also be in charge of it."
Stuttgart also wants to be cleaner. Because dirt is often not only a problem of aesthetics, says city spokesman Martin Thronberens - but often also for nature. "While smoking, many toxic substances accumulate in the filter, and when tilting ends up in nature, these substances are washed out by rain and enter the groundwater." Also, misplaced chewing gums would often be eaten by small animals and birds who might die from it.
"Leaving garbage is barely controlled"
In Stuttgart, therefore, not only the fines rise - for example, for the disposal of tipping or chewing gum to around 100 €. The "Clean Stuttgart" campaign was also launched - for example with larger waste bins. In addition, the municipality has created new jobs in the city enforcement service to catch more garbage sinners in the act - for the first time civil strips are on the way.
Because many German municipalities are facing a common problem: to catch the environmental frigates, even though the staff is thin. "The throwing and leaving of waste is hardly controlled," says the spokeswoman for the city of Lüneburg, Ann-Kristin Jenckel. There are too few sales representatives for this. Their priority is therefore on other fines within the city.
In Hanover, the careless spitting out of a chewing gum still costs a moderate ten euros. In the future it should be more expensive. "This is explicitly demanded by politicians," reports the Zweckverband Abfallwirtschaft Region Hannover. The city of 530,000 people struggles with the estimated 20 million disposable cups for to-go drinks consumed annually.
"So you could cover the more than 6000 square meter Rathausvorplatz one meter high with disposable cups," says association spokeswoman Helene Herich. "A huge waste of valuable resources and thus a significant environmental sin." Therefore, the city cleaning together with city departments decided in the spring of 2017, to establish its own reusable cup system on pledge basis in Hanover, as it is in several other German cities under construction.
Who spits the most?
Meanwhile, the Saxon city of Dresden hardness. There, the number of fines imposed for carelessly thrown away garbage has increased rapidly in recent years. In the previous year there were, according to the Ordnungsamt 1439 procedures for waste deposits such as chewing gum or paper cups. Overall, fines totaling about 33,000 euros were imposed.
In 2017 there were about 960 procedures, in 2016 still 770th In Dresden, someone who spits his gum on the floor, with a Verwarngeld of 20 € expected, reported the Public Order. In individual cases, however, this could also be higher. Repentance should encourage all citizens to respect the set order.
But who spits the most? A study on so-called littering - the careless throwing away of garbage - revealed that the main offenders are young adults between 18 and 30 years old. However, littering also involves throwing away coffee mugs and cigarette butts. The study, to which the Ministry of the Environment refers, was issued last year by the Association of Municipal Enterprises (VKU). The results are based on a long-term study from 2005 to 2017. The reasons for littering were laziness and lack of education.