A new rule taking effect on March 15th will see more fines levied on people who drop litter from a running vehicle in Liuzhou, south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, reports Beijing Youth Daily.
According to the Urban Management Law Enforcement Bureau in Liuzhou, different levels of punishments will be imposed on people who intentionally drop items out of vehicle windows.
Wrongdoers will be fined from 300 yuan (43 USD) to 1000 yuan (145 USD), up from the current 200 yuan. Those who refuse to pay the fines will be placed on a credit blacklist.
A staff member from the Bureau in Liuzhou said that among the items dropped out of vehicle windows, 70%-80% are cigarettes butts, along with napkins, water bottles, fruit peels, etc.
"The ownership of vehicles in Liuzhou is about 700,000 and one million citizens have driving licenses. Uncivilized behaviors do great damage to the city environment," the staff member added.
From July 2015 to now, there have been 36,534 complaints over "dropping items out of vehicle windows," and only 6,326 cases have been dealt with. "Many people do not have enough recognition of this issue and don't care too much about the investigation notice, thinking it's just a matter of 200 yuan," said one staff member.
To improve the situation, a more severe punishment is to be implemented. The new rule stipulates that the wrongdoer will be fined 300 yuan within 15 days after receiving an investigation notice, but the amount will increase if the person does not pay. The amount increases to 500 yuan within a month and 1,000 yuan for periods of over a month. If the wrongdoer refuses to pay the fines within 6 months, he will be placed on a credit blacklist.
According to the Urban Management Law Enforcement Bureau in Liuzhou, most of the cases are identified through tips by means of videos. The videos should contain the "dropping" behavior, the vehicle plate, the road and some objects of reference.
After the video content is confirmed, staff members from Urban Management Law Enforcement Bureau will contact traffic police for information on the vehicle owner. "We will send a text message to the car owner, put notice on local media, send punishment notices and the car owner should pay the fines through a bank."
In order to stop people from dropping items from car windows, many places in China have put out regulations already, including Changchun, Quanzhou, Nanchang, Wuhan, and many others. According to the regulation in Wuhan, wrongdoers will be fined 50 yuan while the witness who tipped off the case will be awarded with 100 yuan. But even this incentive-based system has not been entirely successful in stopping many egregious cases.
In America, such cases are subject to fines as high as USD 500 and severe wrongdoers may face a sentence of six months in prison. In Singapore, offenders found guilty of dropping items from buildings can lose their apartments. And in Australia people can be fined even for dropping waste while walking.