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Clean streets


Nationwide fines in the works for Swiss litterbugs




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Switzerland wants to tidy up its anti-littering sanctions by applying a nationwide fine of between CHF100 and CHF300 ($104-$312) – in addition to the current variety of cantonal punishments.

Parliament is to decide this summer on the proposed new rule, which is backed by the government. Cleaning up litter costs the country an estimated CHF200 million per year.

But if passed, this law would pale in comparison with many other sanctions in place around the world.

Singapore has perhaps the most famous anti-littering rules. In 2014 the country doubled its fine for first-time offenders to S$2,000 ($1,500). A second conviction costs offenders S$4,000 and then S$10,000 for subsequent offences. In addition, litterbugs can be forced to undertake 12 hours of community service – cleaning streets.

The AED500 ($136) fine for first time general littering in the United Arab Emirate of Dubai doubles to AED1,000 ($272) if rubbish is dropped on its glistening beaches. The Ajman municipality authorities in Abu Dhabi have threatened fines of AED10,000 for the same offence.

Littering laws vary wildly in the United States from minor fines to imprisonment depending on the degree of the offence and the state in which it is committed. States that have a high fire risk also impose sever penalties on discarded cigarettes that are still burning. In Maryland simple littering can land a person in jail for 30 days.

Italy recently introduced a range of ‘environmental laws’ to clean up its streets. Anyone caught throwing away a cigarette butt will now be fined €300 ($340).

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