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Sweden enforces new litter laws

Geoff Mortimore · 10 Jul 2011, 09:05

Published: 10 Jul 2011 09:05 GMT+02:00

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With the good weather looking set to continue and the summer barbeque party season in full swing litter, if you leave behind glass bottles, drink cans and one time disposable barbeques you can be fined up to 800 kronor ($130) by police.

The new law has been well received by the police and the general public, although there have been questions raised on why it is still okay to discard cigarette butts, a major form of irritation to many public park users in particular.

Until now police have not had the power to administer fines on the spot for minor litter offences. From today however, if you are caught by one of the patrols, punishment can, and will, according to the authorities, be immediate.

Environment minister Andreas Carlgren is confident that the new law will have a positive effect.

“I hope and believe that it will lead to a cleaner Sweden. The intention is not that people should end up paying masses of fines, but that they stop dropping their litter. All of us who have walked past green areas in the morning at a weekend before they have been cleaned know how bad it can look,” he said in a statement.

The government has not gone into great detail on what is seen as unacceptable and will result in on-the-spot fines, although those throwing away sweet wrappers, bus tickets, chewing gum and cigarette butts will escape the immediate penalty.

Story continues below…

We also won’t be seeing specially assigned litter police hit squads patrolling all our parks anytime in the near future.

Jonny Petersson, police chief for South Stockholm said to DN, ”We won’t be going out looking for people dropping litter. It will be more like the situation with those caught speeding in their cars. If we are out on patrol and see someone dropping litter, we can can fine them.”

Geoff Mortimore (mortimore.geoff@gmail.com)

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Your comments about this article

10:35 July 10, 2011 by byke
Who is going to administer such fines?

I have yet to see any policemen or police ladies walking the streets.

And quite frankly, whenever i do see police it's in a police van with 4 or 5 officers (safety in numbers) even from the smallest of call outs.

If the police have to go round in such concentrated groups, rather than doubles or singular then it will only lead to more delays and lack of order.
10:43 July 10, 2011 by Eagle63
Despite many similarities I wonder why the Swedes can't keep their streets and public places as clean and tidy as the Canadians generaly do....
11:43 July 10, 2011 by Watchtower777
Canadians? Your kidding me.. Take a trip through Scarborough and then tell me how clean the Canadians are.. I actually saw a woman take of a diaper from her child and toss it in the street.
12:06 July 10, 2011 by Alohart
When I was a child in the U.S. in the 1950's, it was common to throw paper, bottles, cans, whatever, out the windows of moving cars. In high school, a game was to see whether one could hit a road-side mailbox with a beer bottle thrown from the window of a moving car :-) The sides of highways and roads were litter-strewn. Ladybird Johnson started a national anti-litter campaign when LBJ was President in the 1960's that really changed the littering behavior of most Americans. If a leader in Sweden would really push an anti-litter campaign, maybe it would work as well.
12:33 July 10, 2011 by Brianito
I agree with Byke ! Also, trying to find a unfilled litter bin on any weekend in Summer in Stockholm is an impossibility. As for the new wonderful laws I think to myself ...

" What a load of rubbish" !
12:45 July 10, 2011 by JulieLou40
I can't understand how the worst and most commonly dropped items (cigarette ends, bus tickets, chewing gum and sweet wrappers) are exempt. What the hell is the point of that?????
13:29 July 10, 2011 by Alfred Nevada
One thing people could do is recycle cans and bottles.
14:41 July 10, 2011 by Streja
There was/is already an anti-litter campaign.

Håll Sverige Rent

Then there is the sort of scouts movement Mulle, where you learn how act in the forest and not to throw things or destroy nature.
14:57 July 10, 2011 by Eagle63
@ #3:

Don't know about the Toronto area, but in my experience the towns and villages out west look really clean to me; Chilliwack, Penticton, Osoyoos, High River, Lethbridge, Vulcan etc., all really nice places to live or visit. Much cleaner than The Netherlands where there is lots of litter in the streets of most towns.

And another nice thing aboot Canada; people do say Hi/hello/goodmorning etc quite a bit more than the Swedes do. But don't get me wrong; Sweden still remains my third favorite country, right after 1Canada and the 2USA.....
15:26 July 10, 2011 by Steggles
I have just had my sixth visit to Sweden in as many years and the streets of Stockholm were the worst I have seen.

The cigarette butts are an absolute disgrace!

At least with the bottles & cans there is some poor begger that will collect them.
16:05 July 10, 2011 by Rick Methven
@Alfred Nevada "One thing people could do is recycle cans and bottles. "

You obviously have absolutely NO idea about Sweden. If you did you would know that all drinks bottles and cans carry a returnable deposit of 1kr and as you pay per kilo for household waste collected, most people DO use the recycling facilities provided by the local Kommun for plastic, metal and paper.
16:06 July 10, 2011 by jacquelinee

I agree, the greater Toronto area is disgusting. I lived there for a year. No wonder the spread of cocroaches is so prevalent. Bút ouside of the big urban areas, the country is pretty well maintained, as long as you don't need to use a public toilet. Then Sweden wins hands down. They are very clean here.

But the gum and especially cigarette butts are disgraceful. Better yet, lets fine heavily those people that hork and spit their disgusting mucus on the sidewalks. YUCK! I have even seen women (can't call them ladies) do that in Sweden. Now THAST is just plain gross.
19:28 July 10, 2011 by Opalnera
There should be a fine for spitting out your snus. That is disgusting!
11:52 July 11, 2011 by Nilspet

I do agree with you.
12:29 July 11, 2011 by jacquelinee
@Opalnerna @Nilspet

I'll third that!
00:21 July 12, 2011 by J Jack
The law is not enforced until someone gets fined .. and what police have time for that with the rest of the summer chaos? I think it will be added on in court reports, like, "Joe Bloggs", We hereby find you guilty of public intoxication, urination, exposure and a further 800 for dropping your beer can.
21:43 July 12, 2011 by xiongyishi1234
it is right decision. Paying the fines is not the intention of law, but let those people to know what they have done is causing a mess. After the law come into force, people would feel pressure not only they are doing law violation, but also run a risk to pay the fine.

there is no need to add more stuff to deal with such issue, i think people would gradually decrease the chance to drop litters.
02:13 July 16, 2011 by Alfred Nevada
"...most people DO use the recycling facilities provided by the local Kommun for plastic, metal and paper."

Yes but for those who DON'T, for those who necessitated this new law because they litter, one thing the litterbugs could do instead of littering is recycling their cans and bottles. That way there wouldn't be litter anymore.

In America there was an old T.V. ad showing an Indian crying because of all the litter.
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