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Sweden enforces new litter laws

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Sweden enforces new litter laws
09:05 CEST+02:00
New laws come into force in Sweden on Sunday in a bid to combat the growing litter problem across the country.

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.

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.”

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