The electricity bill continues to break historical records every month. Although the escalation of prices is general, electricity is one of the expenses that most conditions the day-to-day life of citizens: there is no other option but to look for the least expensive hours. But this desperate attempt to alleviate the shock to the pockets collides with the municipal ordinances: the one in Murcia sets noise limits at night that the washing machines far exceed.
These regulations, which vary according to the city council, establish obligations such as the payment of taxes, but also regulate behavior and activities in both public and private spaces. And, of course, they establish economic fines. The ordinances, however, are plagued with actions that are repeated daily throughout the municipality of Murcia.
Draw messages on the bark of trees, bathe in a fountain, wash the car in the street, water the plants on the balconies, throw a cigarette on the ground. All these common actions are only a small part of those prohibited, and therefore sanctioned, by municipal ordinances. Many are unknown by much of the population.
Bathing in fountains and lakes
The Malecón fountain, in a file photo. /
Summer in Murcia is scorching. The best option is to flee to the coast. But if there is no other choice but to walk the streets of the city, the fountains should not be confused with oases in the desert: bathing can cost a fine of up to 750 euros. The green areas ordinance prohibits it, as well as access to lakes or ponds.
This regulation also advises keeping the fishing rod for seas and rivers, since trying your luck in the city’s lakes is penalized with between 1,501 and 3,000 euros. The same punishment applies if substances that may be toxic are thrown. This ordinance, in general, protects parks and gardens, but also includes aspects related to road safety, irrigation systems, water resources and other elements that make up urban space.
Neither mark logs nor climb
A game that does not go out of style for children is to draw on the trunks of trees. The name itself, cocky messages, hearts. They are worth everything. However, damage to the plant is considered and is punishable by 750 euros. Nor can you play climb them, drive staples or nails or take their oranges or lemons for snacks. Not even “allowing dogs to enter children’s play areas, flower beds, ponds or fountains.” The same fine is fixed for all these infractions.
Forbidden to eat and transport large packages
Passengers await the arrival of the tram. /
Contrary to low-cost airlines, the Tranvía de Murcia does not offer boxes to check the measurements of suitcases, so one of its rules goes unnoticed. It is not allowed to transport “any package or package measuring more than 100x60x25 centimeters”, according to the specific ordinance of this means of transport. In fact, you have to pay more than to take another suitcase on the plane: the penalty is 300 euros. The same as if you eat inside the vehicle.
Up to 150 euros for spitting or throwing cigarettes
Water the plants, only at night
Pots placed in the windows of a house. /
If the plants are placed on the outside of the building, such as windows or balconies, it is better to remember to water them at night. Otherwise, if one adheres to the Street Cleaning ordinance, they would end up dry, since it only allows them to be soaked between 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. the next day. The regulations understand that it dirty the road and public spaces. For this reason, it is also forbidden to shake garments or carpets, which is also repeatedly violated.
These limits to activities in homes are often overlooked, but also those that regulate behavior in public spaces. Many of them are acts that citizens encounter every day: throwing waste such as paper and cigarettes, spitting or ripping and dirtying posters and advertisements. Offenders almost always get away with it, but the regulations provide for fines of between 30 and 150 euros.
This chapter also includes other rules known as throwing garbage outside the established hours or painting graffiti. Among the serious ones (from 151 to 6,000 euros), a curious one: acts of propaganda, such as the distribution or placement of posters, without proper authorization.
Conduct in public space
A man cleans the windshield of a car, in a file image. /
Murcia City Council launched last year an offensive against the ‘gorillas’ with a new ordinance, behavior in public space, which sparked complaints and arrests. However, the same text includes another street service that already attracts less attention: cleaning the windshields of vehicles at traffic lights is punishable by up to 1,500 euros, as specified in Title XI of Law 7/1985. The simple fact of offering it, as well as the sale of products to drivers, with 750 euros.
The music elevated, with the vehicles closed
Forbidden to wash them in the street
A person washes his car by hand.
The haze of recent days has ruined the quality of the air, but also the cars, unfortunately for the drivers. Among the different options to clean them, it is advisable to look for a cheap laundry and, above all, not to consider washing it in the street, since the fine ranges between 30 and 150 euros. The Street Cleaning ordinance also prevents repairing vehicles or changing oil and other liquids. If they are dumped on the street, the fines rise to between 151 and 6,000 euros.
There is another municipal rule that addresses drivers. The noise regulation prohibits the use of cars as loudspeakers at outdoor parties: you cannot play the music with “high volume” and the windows, doors or trunk open. The fine ranges from 90 to 400 euros. Also for the simple fact of parking with the engine running at night causing inconvenience to the neighborhood, “except immediate departure.”
washing machines and appliances
Limits to off-peak hours
Programming a washing machine. /
Precisely the noise ordinance is the one that collides with the desperate attempt to save on the electricity bill. It is not allowed to use appliances “that cause inconvenience to the neighbors, at night”, that is, from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m., practically the same period as off-peak hours (00,000 to 8:00). According to article 16, the limit is 30 decibels at night. The Organization of Consumers and Users (OCU) points out that the noise generated by washing machines ranges between 46 and 57 dBA, but during spinning it can rise to 70.5.
The sanction can amount to 3,000 euros if the limit is exceeded by 13 or more decibels. Of course, calculating these sound levels requires complex measurements. And the sanction will remain in a warning when the infraction “has little importance and repercussion in the environment, and depending on the specific circumstances of the case.” In the noise ordinance there are infractions for all types of noise pollution, although a curious limit is established: the total number of fines may not exceed fifteen.
Birds and animals in outdoor areas
Banned if they bother
Caged bird on a balcony in Murcia. /
In an episode of the popular ‘There is no one to live here’, most of the tenants of Desengaño 21 rebel against a parrot that disturbs the rest of the neighbors. Like so many scenes that the series reproduces, it is an old problem of the communities. And there is also an ordinance that regulates these situations.
According to noise regulations, it is not allowed to leave birds and other animals in outdoor areas of houses or buildings at night “that disturb the rest or tranquility of the neighbors”. In this case, in addition to a fine of between 90 and 400 euros, its withdrawal can be agreed. The regulations, which regulate other sources of neighborhood clashes, also prohibit the installation of air conditioning in interior patios if it causes discomfort.
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