The municipality Kirchham in Upper Austria say they have long had a problem with people throwing cans, fast food wrappers and cigarette ends into farmer’s fields, which can pollute the ground and cause injuries to livestock.
The mayor said they carry out rubbish collection campaigns every year to try and make people aware of the problem but nothing changed.
Now they have stuck up 300 yellow arrows at the edge of the road that indicate where rubbish was found after being thrown from car windows as drivers sped by.
“We wanted to build awareness – and also do something aggressive that would attract attention. Every year we do a rubbish collection campaign but the people still always throw their rubbish out of the car windows,” said Kirchham Mayor Hans Kronberger (ÖVP).
Local vets say that rubbish like aluminium cans can cause injuries to animals grazing in the fields.
“The sharp plastic parts, aluminium cans or broken glass are finding their way into animal feed,” says Kirchham vet Hannes Gattinger. “The rubbish stays in the stomachs of the animals, leading to serious injuries from cuts, that can lead to the early deaths or slaughter of the animals.”
Discarded cigarettes also cause environmental damage, with just one cigarette end potentially causing contamination in 50 litres of groundwater.
The arrows are due to be collected in again in April by the youth branch of local volunteer fire services, when the community will find out if they have done the job.