Bonn Bonn’s administration is happy with its cleanliness offensive. The patrol service is to grow to 26 employees. The highest fine was Euro 50.
The administration believes the cleanliness offensive in Bonn is successful. They say the campaign, where those littering are given yellow cards as a warning or fined, is being well received. In the period from February to June, 27 people who threw cigarettes, chewing gum or other litter onto the ground received a fine. “Whether and to what extent this approach is working should not be judged on the number of incidents alone,” says city director Wolfgang Fuchs. For the time being, council groups want to refrain from imposing higher fines, as called for by NRW Environment Minister Ursula Heinen-Esser. The minister recommended that municipalities collect up to Euro 100. Previously, the recommendation was Euro 10 to 25.
21 fines of Euro 25
The incidents in Bonn are manageable. The city imposed 21 fines of Euro 25 for discarded cigarette butts. The fines office sent out four written warnings for complaints about dropped butts. One passerby, who threw away an empty Schnaps bottle that then broke, had to pay Euro 50. And there was a written warning for a young woman who dropped used make-up tissues on the ground.
“The campaign for more cleanliness is not aimed at imposing as many fines as possible,” says Fuchs. Instead, it is to raise awareness and make people more aware that they should pay more attention to their own behaviour when dealing with litter and refuse. It therefore focuses on prevention. “The presence alone of uniformed employees of the city’s public order service strongly influences the behaviour of passersby in the area.” The previous months show that less litter is carelessly thrown away where the public order service is on patrol.
As announced, the city therefore intends to increase this presence through more personnel in future. In future, there are to be 26 instead of the current 19 employees out on patrol.
Politicians disagree over scale of penalties
Before fines increase, the CDU council group wants to know whether the current measures are working. “If this is not the case, a further increase in fines must be considered, for which the state government would obviously like to create a framework,” says group leader Horst Gehrmann.
Stephan Eickschen (SPD) generally supports the NRW environment minister’s views. However, he doubts that stronger controls would be feasible. “We are therefore relying more on the insight and understanding of Bonn’s citizens.” The Social Democrats also want to campaign for a fundamental reduction in waste, for example from disposable cups. “Because not only consumers but also those creating waste must make their contribution.”
FDP environment spokesperson Wilfried Löbach says: “In Bonn the problem is not the amount of the fines but the number of employees in the public order office.” Michael Faber from the Left party considers the “draconian fines” nonsense. “As annoying as discarded cigarette butts are, a Euro 100 fine seems disproportionate to me.”
(Original text: Nicolas Ottersbach, Translation: Kate Carey)