A staggering 36 million bags of dog poo are deposited annually in Vienna’s rubbish bins, along with 100 million cigarette butts. The fines for not clearing up dog poo and butts are now set to increase from €36 to €50. In cases of gross misconduct, the fine can be up to €90.
Discarded cigarette butts (mainly the filter) are a form of non-biodegradable litter. Cigarette filters are the single most collected item each year in international beach cleanups.
A quick street survey by the Kurier newspaper in the 19th district revealed that most people were not opposed to higher fines, although some said €90 seemed “a bit steep”. Dog owners were pleased that cigarette butt litterers would receive an equally high penalty, pointing out that some dogs even eat the butts which can be poisonous.
Vienna’s Councillor for the Environment, Ulli Sima (SPÖ), said that the maximum penalty of €90 will only be handed out in exceptional cases. “There is a margin of discretion, for example, someone who empties a full ashtray out of their car window onto the street could be given the higher fine”.
The opposition ÖVP criticised the move, saying it was just to “plump up” the city coffers. The FPÖ said that in principle it isn’t opposed but that the extra revenue from the fines should be used to improve lighting and infrastructure in dog walking zones, so that dog walkers can feel safe at night.