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New Swedish litter law met with criticism

TT/Clara Guibourg · 2 Jul 2011, 09:26

Published: 02 Jul 2011 09:26 GMT+02:00

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After the 10th of July, tossing a beer can elsewhere than the rubbish bin is set to become a costly affair as police will then have mandate to fine litterbugs 800 kronor ($126) on the spot.

However, there are several exceptions to the litter law. Cigarette butts, gum and bus tickets are not considered trash in the eyes of the law, an exception that has been met with massive criticism, reported newspaper Dagens Nyheter on Saturday.

"It's absolutely idiotic to exclude butts, now that a serious effort is taken. It's frankly counter-productive," said Joakim Brodahl of the organisation Håll Sverige Rent (literally translated as Keep Sweden Clean) to DN.

The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (Naturvårdsverket) point out cigarette butts as the most common form of litter by a wide margin, in a new project about littering.

750 million butts were tossed on the ground in 2005.

"We've been charged by the government to reduce littering, and see cigarette butts as a big problem," said Hans Wrådhe, head of the agency, to the paper.

Environment minister Andreas Carlgren, who criticised the growing amounts of litter in parks as "frightening" in a statement this March, is also bothered by the butts, but doesn't want to comment further on the Swedish Prosecutor-General's (Riksåklagaren) decision.

Story continues below…

"I'm among those who find all the cigarette butts in parks and streets miserable. I absolutely understand people who are angry about this, but we first have to wait and see what happens when the law comes into effect," said Carlgren to DN.

TT/Clara Guibourg (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

10:54 July 2, 2011 by blursd
I like my solution better, and I think it would be far more effective in deterring the tossing cigarette butts ... if you get caught tossing one you then have to pick it up and manually insert it up into your rectum. Get caught doing it a second time and you have to light a new cigarette and then insert it in the same location.
10:54 July 2, 2011 by Mb 65
So the environment minister believes cigarette butts and chewing gum are not litter. The Transport minister believes that talking on a mobile while driving is not dangerous. Anything that you throw on the street is litter no matter what it is, and anything you do in a car that takes you attention away and hands off the wheel is very dangerous. Anybody with an ounce of common sense knows this. These ministers should be removed from these positions of responsibility immediately.
11:11 July 2, 2011 by johnny1939
@ Mb 65 I agree w/ you 100%. I have stepped in chewing gum on a hot day and it is not nice and I hate all the cigarette butts stuck in the sand on beaches and bus tickets? Why are they not considered trash?
11:32 July 2, 2011 by Attestupa
This is garbage
20:16 July 2, 2011 by play nice
Seriously, no butts or gum? Take care of the little things and the big things will take care of themselves. Though the "up the butt" suggestion might discourage littering.

The more I think about it "UP THE BUTT" would be a good anti-litter rallying cry. Scare the hell out of 'em. How that translates into Swedish, I don't know.
22:17 July 2, 2011 by Antonito
Tin cans are not really a big problem. I would even agree on leaving them in visible places for people to make some cash when recycling them. Chewing gums however stay attached to not only floors but to any surface ..yes including shoes. See the floors in the train/tunnelbana stations. Removing them costs more money than removing cigarette butts.
23:25 July 2, 2011 by Grokh
How about swedish guys peeing everyone ? never seen so many ppl pee so openly in public as in sweden lol

and again smokers take the cake on being depicable ;D
01:44 July 3, 2011 by Observant
This is another example that Sweden cannot do anything - especially their laws - correctly. They are all a bunch of ass holes
03:14 July 3, 2011 by diegoveggie
smokers should put cigarrette butts on their own butts
06:09 July 3, 2011 by graphixperson
Leave it to Sweden to count all 750 million butts tossed on the ground.
10:10 July 3, 2011 by Brtahan
Why not include cigarrette butts and gum because ,lots of people chew gum and lots smoke so if they get irritated with this law they wont vote next time to the party proposing this law . Got it its politics noting to do with the Enviroment.
10:18 July 3, 2011 by J. L. Belmar
Why do not we put all the ministers in a litter can? The law is idiotic. Cigarrette butts and gum are the most anoying things you finde on the streets. Swedish politicians are experts in making laws that provoke people's upproar, but they do not care. Their heads are made of gum and there is only smoke inside them. But wait! What is next, Mr. Reinfeldt?
10:55 July 3, 2011 by krattan
I'm against formulating laws to deal with every single thing that is perceived as a problem. Not to litter should be a part of the common sense which I think has more to do with upbringing and taking responsibility than anything else. When I visited Japan a few years ago there were almost no public trash cans. Did that make littering frequent? No! People took responsibility for their own trash. I think that's the only way to deal with littering efficiently. Making laws about this? perhaps it will work. Perhaps it will only be a nuisance and cost tax payers money to upheld. I agree with Carlgren that we can wait for the outcome.
11:33 July 3, 2011 by Dimukas
I really do not treat the problem of leaving butts on a streets as a serious, especially if the butts would be remains of cannabis.

I think it is the only reason why "they" made such an exclusion )
13:41 July 3, 2011 by crofab
Just the other day I was clearing out some space under the rose bushes outside my apartment to put in a vegetable garden. The amount of cigarette butts I removed was in the hundreds. They never break down!
14:13 July 3, 2011 by Borilla

Agree 100%. But it is not just Swedish "guys". Nothing like seeing a Swede step into a lift located right next to a public toilet and take a whiz. Bad manners. Unsanitary. No worries about flashing as most of them need tweezers anyway.
10:42 July 4, 2011 by helveeta
I think a litter law is much needed and should be enforced! My campus at SFI was the dirtiest place in my whole town including the torget. Once a woman walking in front of me tossed a large napkin on the ground about 3 feet from a trash bin. When I scolded her she laughed in my face.

Regarding men peeing in the bushes, I don't see anything wrong with that. It's a natural function and people peed outside before indoor plumbing. It's trash laying everywhere I can't stand. Sweden used to be known as one of the cleanest countries what has happened??
11:55 July 4, 2011 by cogito
"I don't see anything wrong with that. It's a natural function and people peed outside before indoor plumbing." (Helveeta)

Because it's "natural," peeing in the street is OK with you? Defecation is "natural," too.

Stockholm is the dirtiest city I've ever seen.
17:23 July 4, 2011 by alecLoTh
Soon you will be flogged in the public square for litter, as in Singapore
21:06 July 4, 2011 by krattan

Says more about your travel experience than anything else. :D
01:25 July 5, 2011 by philster61
anybody ever been to Singapore?
08:21 July 5, 2011 by helveeta
@cognito, when did I say peeing in the street is okay? We were talking about men peeing on the side of the road "in the bushes," read things more thoroughly before you comment.
11:20 July 5, 2011 by cogito
@krattan #20 "Says more about your travel experience than anything else"

New York, Paris, Rome, Madrid, Barcelona, Singapore, HongKong, Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo, San Francisco, New Orleans, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Diego, Honolulu....that's some of my travel experience.

21:15 July 10, 2011 by Environment in focus
this new Swedish law is just a joke to the environement

Se my artickle about it

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