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City cleanliness: City of Bonn raises fines for trash violators

City cleanliness : City of Bonn raises fines for trash violators

The City of Bonn is increasing penalties for carelessly discarded chewing gum, cigarette butts and disposable coffee cups. It wants to take on the challenge and fight against littering in public places.

Complaints about overflowing rubbish bins, cigarette butts lying around or bulky trash items on the streets are heard time and again. "Bonnorange (Bonn municipal waste) has noticed, as in other cities, that littering in public places has increased. More and more waste is simply disposed of carelessly on the ground, instead of throwing it into designated garbage bins," explains Jasmin Mangold, spokeswoman for Bonnorange. The littering is increasing especially in places where many people meet up in the evening and sit for a longer period of time, such as along the banks of the Rhine.

"But even at (public transportation) stops and wherever people are in a hurry, the littering increases," says Mangold. An example of this is at the bicycle parking at the main train station. Between the bike racks, empty plastic cups, candy wrappers and bags litter the ground.

Bonn has more than 125 waste bins in the city

According to Mangold, the employees of Bonnorange most often find packaging waste on the streets, mainly from so-called "to-go food". These are foods that can be eaten quickly on the go. 40,000 coffee-to-go cups made of cardboard or plastic are used in Bonn on a daily basis. A proposed new deposit system would result in a ban on disposable cups in Bonn. Convenience comes at a price when the outer packaging so often ends up on the ground instead of in the trash can. There are more than 125 rubbish bins in the Bonn inner city, which Bonnorange empties four times a day. The waste bins each hold 100 liters. An estimated twelve cubic meters of garbage is removed by the municipal waste management every day in the city.

To stop the littering, the city has increased the fines again and again. Stefanie Zießnitz from the city press office, says the higher fine is meant to act as a deterrent and help to achieve a more tidy cityscape. Most recently, the fines were adjusted in the spring. For someone who spits out chewing gum on the ground, it costs 50 euros instead of the previous 35 euros. Whoever disposes of an empty beverage can by throwing it on the ground, can expect a warning fine of 35 euros (previously 25 euros).

A disposable coffee cop that lands on the ground instead of in the trash can cost the coffee lover 25 euros (previously 20 euros). For cigarette packs or discarded cigarette butts, a fine of 25 euros can be expected. “Wildpinklern” (those who urinate in public spaces) will face a fine of 40 euros after the increase takes effect, plus a fee of 28.50 euros for extra costs. Overall, the city has increased the amounts by five to 15 euros. That is not enough for some Bonn residents. They demand stricter penalties for trash violators, as is already the case in other cities.

In Hamburg, fines are much steeper with barbecue leftovers oder broken glass costing 250 to 1,000 euros in fines. Those who dump “Sperrmüll” (large waste items such as old furniture, TV’s, and similar) can face a penalty of up to 8,000 euros. The city of Duisburg has also been introducing similarly drastic measures since 2016. Littering of cigarette cartons, paper cups and plates, and banana peels will cost a find of 60 to 150 euros. Other illegal waste fines run from 60 to 1,500 euros. But a spokesperson for the City of Duisburg said that the increase in fines had not resulted in a cleaner inner city.

Since the beginning of the year, Bonnorange has set itself the goal to objectively determine the cleanliness on the city according to certain criteria, using a new measuring method. Based on the results, the cleaning rotation would then be adjusted.

(Orig. text: Sabrina Bauer; Translation: ck)