Three good examples of clean European municipalities

Stockholm, Sweden: «A city of 750,000 inhabitants spends 10 million euros a year on cleaning alone,» Deputy Mayor Kristina Alvendal told Kathimerini. That sum does not include amounts spent on cleaning children’s playgrounds and cleaning equipment. Another 14 million euros a year goes to clearing snow from the roads. Stiff fines Trash bins are emptied once a day, twice downtown. Bulky items go in special skips in apartment blocks; infringements incur stiff fines. Restaurants and stores have their own waste bins. Graffiti-defaced surfaces must be repainted within 24 hours. The municipal teams cooperate with the police to impose fines and arrest culprits. Stores are not permitted to sell materials used to write graffiti to anyone under the age of 18. Birmingham, UK: «An industrial city of 1 million residents (and 2.5 million on the outskirts), with serious problems of cleanliness and pollution, it was cleaned after systematic effort over many years,» Councilor Sir Albert Bore told Kathimerini. Environmental guards In 2002, councilors in each city ward appointed one to two environmental guards to go around the city reminding people when to put their trash out. Trash is collected once a week, fewer cleaning staff are required and infringements incur fines. Birmingham has no public bins. Dunkirk, France: «This city of 2200,000 inhabitants keeps completely clean, removing 5,000 metric tons of trash from bins everyday and taking it to landfills,» a Dunkirk municipal official told Kathimerini. The streets are cleaned daily with 2,500 cubic meters of recycled water, and 53 distributors hand out plastic bags for pet droppings, which can be deposited at 13 places around the city. A special team cleans graffiti. Seventy workers clean 244 kilometers of streets; 15 vehicles sweep the streets from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. The city makes arrangements with rally organizers to clean the streets.