Hold onto your butts: Swiss town steps up war on litter

© Lisi Niesner
Smokers beware: it’s not just cancer that will cost you! A Swiss town will fine you if you don’t put your butts in the bin. After being lax on litterers, the town of Porrentruy is getting tough and introducing fines.

The town tried introducing various new measures to combat litter over two years, including providing children with pouches to put their chewing gum in, but when they failed to make an impact, harsher measures were needed, according to the Local.

A fine of 100 Swiss francs (€93) will be handed out to any adult failing to discard their rubbish properly. The council has publicized the new measure by putting up posters around the town reading “Now we’re getting serious.”

It may sound harsh, but litterbugs in Geneva presently face a fine of 250 Swiss francs (€320). Fines are currently set at a regional level, but if the country sets them on a national level, as the federal government would like, the cost of inadvertently dropping a chewing gum wrapper on the sidewalk could rise to as high as 300 Swiss francs (€278).

Having each region set its own fine has led to “rubbish tourism,” with garbage being illegally dumped in areas with less restrictive laws.

Switzerland has a reputation for having uptight laws, including a restriction on men standing up to urinate after 10 pm due to the unappealing sound made by splashing urine.

The littering law might not be as crazy as it seems, however, as the country currently pays out €185 million per year to keep itself clean, according to the Local.