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Littering in public places to become costly mistake

Date Posted: 2003-01-10

A new prefectural ordinance that took effect on Jan. 1 will impose ・20,000 fine on anyone caught throwing empty cans, cigarette butts or other trash on the street or other public areas. 19 of Japan痴 47 prefectures have enacted similar ordinances, but only five, including Okinawa, levy fines on offenders.

Prefecture officials say that they plan to implement the new ordinance softly. They sai first time offenders are only given a letter of reprimand, but if caught again it will hurt in the pocketbook.

However, a survey taken over the first weekend of January when the ordinance had been in effect for five days showed that few people knew about it. Many were surprised and said that although they supported the new ordinance, the prefecture had obviously done a poor job in publicizing it.

The ordinance specifically prohibits discarding empty cans, bottles and other drink containers at any public area. Other items considered litter that will invite a fine include cigarette butts, chewing gum, pamphlets, newspapers, magazines, lunch boxes and other plastic containers.

Naha痴 Kumoji Street Association Chairman Tokushichi Maeshiro says that the new ordinance is a good thing. 典he ・20,000 fine gives the ordinance teeth. Without it people would not care, although we would like to think that each citizen had high enough morals to abide by the rules that benefit everyone.・Maeshiro also said that it is the responsibility of each person to pick up trash wherever they see it. He also urged people to call police, city or prefectural office to report those who throw trash out of their car windows. 徹nly when we work together will we see an improvement in our environment,・he said.

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