In Guyana they propose to fast track what they call environment crimes along a newly created branch of the law and order tree, an environment court. This is where they will send an entire cross section of litter pulp, from two-bit litterers to big-time dumpers. All will be trotted before a judge who will decide how firmly to apply the newly trumped up cleanliness laws which aim to make a dent in the garbage strewn landscape.
Fines and ticketing will be the order of the day once the Guyanese public has had time to become accustomed to the idea. “Intensified public awareness” will occur during the grace period. Reasonable and sound approaches, but how to ensure that litterers pay the fines?
In Rio de Janeiro the zero waste “Lixo Zero” cuts to the heart of enforcement by recording tax roll numbers of those ticketed for littering. If the fine goes unpaid it will affect the offender’s ability to use credit cards or obtain loans. This new regime is being rolled out after a 51-day postponement while the city hosted a massive Catholic youth event, where pilgrims received litterbags upon arrival and participated in what appears to have been a litter-free papal visit and World Youth Day – a first for any city.
While some jurisdictions tiptoe around the edges of the littering dilemma, others dive right in and put the public mind to the task of creating litter prevention measures. It doesn’t help that people don’t separate their garbage in Rio. The culture built up around people throwing trash on the street has raised sufficient alarm as to spawn a meaningful drive among Zero Wasters to tackle littering head-on. With government’s support they may well do it.
I don’t know about you, but I would definitely watch “Litter Court” if it became a TV show.