Littering in Finland rarely results in fines for the litter himself.
Littering is one of the biggest environmental crises of the moment, along with climate change. Garbage that ends up in nature poses a danger and health threat to all organisms. Littering is also an economic crisis. Yle reported in the spring (18.5.) That the cleaning of public areas in Helsinki costs more than 11 million euros a year.
Large amounts of debris can be found in the vicinity, even if there are enough bins. Many are concerned about the pollution of various habitats due to debris and the survival of animals. In particular, the release of debris into water bodies and the adverse effects of microplastics are of concern.
It is contradictory that in the light of all the numbers, information and concerns, littering in Finland rarely results in fines for the litter himself. A fine can only be imposed by the police, and the police do not have the resources to monitor an individual’s garbage behavior.
It is thought that soft means such as guidance and information would suffice. However, according to the Finnish Public Health Association’s ASH (Action on Smoking and Health), only cigarette butts with ungrounded microfiber in their filters are thrown into the environment in Finland in innumerable quantities every day. These cigarette butts flying past the trash speak their own harsh language about the fact that the Enlightenment has not reached everyone.
We took a citizens’ initiative to increase the criminalization of littering with penalties. In this model, in addition to the police, municipalities would have the right to intervene in littering and impose a penalty payment on the litter. The payments would remain with the municipality and could help to improve the municipality’s environmental services.
Everyone should be responsible for littering and its consequences for the environment. We don’t want to close our eyes to litter.
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