I remember how in early spring, every evening I went home from the work, passing by the small lake. The ice was steadily melting and showing the nature of people, who visited it. Looking at the coastline with a two-meter thick edge from bottles, packets, other rubbish of all kinds, which the lake attempted to push out, I involuntarily raised my brows and lost heart…
After a few weeks, the lake was cleaned after all. Just for one evening, after arrival of several TV channels. And how many such ponds, forests, parks, alleys and entrance lobbies in Ukraine are there? Mucked up with rubbish, mangled by vandals, emanating such a stench in the scorching-hot weather so that you rush past, holding your breath… So what is it – poorly organized collection and disposal of refuse or ill-mannered people, letting themselves to litter?
We can hurl all titanic efforts into refuse collection, but those, who got used to soil themselves, will come and do it again. This wisdom was well learnt in Switzerland, Italy, Germany, France, Belgium, Singapore… any more or less eco-developed country. The culture was inculcated there, sometimes applying draconian measures. And not for one year, and not for five… At least, they got results.
What measures were applied? Right, financial. To disregard the rules of public order is not only indecent, but is also expensive. In Germany, the cig-end, wrapping paper or bottle, dumped in the street, will cost €20. The fruit cores or other food scraps - €35. If you threw old furniture or equipment into the street – pay €150-600. The delicate, however, sadly, actual for Germany problem of “taking a slash” (especially during the period of festivals and feasts) will cost €40–100 in Cologne, and up to €5000 in Hannover and Stuttgart. In France, those, who litter in the city or do not clean up after their dogs, are fined €1500. In Italy, punished are even those, who blunder the sort of garbage, when tossing out trash in special separate containers, or park their car in front of garbage containers for even several minutes.
In Singapore, the price list is approximately the following: to dump a piece of paper, cig-end or bubble gum in the street – 500 – 1000 SGD ($375-735), to feed the birds, stray animals, to have a bite on the bench, in the park or in transport – other 500-1000 SGD. The systematic violators are sentenced to the public works on street cleaning. At the same time, they should carry a sign that says: “I discarded rubbish”.
How are the violators caught? In Singapore, the street video surveillance cameras are anywhere and everywhere. The special police staff watches video footages. The plain-clothes police officers patrol in the streets, though even ordinary passers-by may merely take a snapshot of you by phone and send it to “authorities”. The so-called “rubbish” detectives (Mülldetektive) – specially trained people, ready to conduct real investigation in order to find out, let us say, who systematically violates the rules of sorting the rubbish, operate in many German cities. The city authorities hire them. In Rome, there is a special “anti-garbage patrol” for it. In Switzerland, the special “garbage” police keeps watch over the cleanliness of the streets… And the proceeds from payment of fines fill local budgets and partially cover expenses for garbage disposal.
However, the main thing is that the wealth status does not influence the degree of responsibility, – everybody is equal before the law. You can meet a plumber or owner of a large business, carrying their packaging to the proper container. And this is not really about the fines. Probably, about their consciousness. About the habit to identify themselves, urban dwellers, with the state. There, the state is each man or woman and several millions of people, who daily solve problems of national importance.