Tidy-conscious Swiss crack down on littering

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Tidy-conscious Swiss crack down on littering
Photo: AFP

Littering is a no-no in Switzerland and citizens are becoming increasingly intolerant of offenders as a popular initiative in the canton of Basel-Country illustrates.


Voters in the canton accepted by a wide margin a plan to authorize a 1,000-franc fine for anyone who leaves garbage in a public space.

The initiative was backed by 75 percent of the electorate, according to results released on Sunday, and follows in the steps of similar initiatives taken in other cantons.

Federal MPs also want to toughen penalties nationally for littering of small items such as cigarette butts, plastic wrappers, cans, bottles, chewing gum and food leftovers, the ATS news agency reported.

A committee of the lower house of parliament has proposed a minimum penalty of 100 francs rising up to a maximum of 300 francs.

The actual amount will be fixed the federal government following a period of consultation lasting until June 8th.

Because of the Swiss criminal law for minors, only teens over 15 would face such fines for leaving trash in a public space, while those below this age would be required to submit to an “education process”.

Under the proposal police would be able to issue on-the-spot fines for littering on streets, parking lots, public transport vehicles and in the countryside.

The proposed law would allow for a fine of up to 20,000 francs for the inappropriate dumping of large amounts of urban waste.

The costs for cleaning up litter in Swiss municipalities is estimated at 200 million francs a year, according to sponsors of the initiative.

Swiss towns and cities have sought a federal tax on plastic (PET) bottles, cans and cigarettes to help finance the cleanup.



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