Tribune de Genève.
Throwing a cigarette butt on the street or an empty can on to the side of a road is set to become an offense with a steep fine. The new rules, supported by the Federal Council, and likely to be adopted by parliament over summer, will apply to all of Switzerland.
According to the Swiss government the level of litter in public places is worryingly high. And while several cantons have anti-littering laws, it thinks nationwide rules are justified. Cantons will have some flexibility to grant exemptions, for example at Swiss national day celebrations and music festivals.
Under the new rules, fines running as high as CHF 300 will be handed out for minor acts of littering, such as dropping cigarette butts or empty drink cans. The fines will be handed out on the spot in public places. In addition, fines will apply if someone is caught red handed throwing litter from private property into a public space. Members of the public can report littering, which will be handled in the same way as the reporting of any other offense.
The proposed rules also include fines of up to CHF 20,000 for the inappropriate disposal of large quantities of household waste.
The estimated total annual cost of littering in Switzerland is around CHF 200 million.