Paris: City’s crackdown on dirty streets sees 34,000 fines dished out in six months

Despite their best efforts (and a new clean-up project) the Paris authorities are still waging a war against "uncivil" Parisians in a bid to clean up the dirty streets.

Paris: City's crackdown on dirty streets sees 34,000 fines dished out in six months
Photo: Pierre Châtel/Flickr
During the first half of 2017, the Paris authorities handed out a whopping 34,000 fines in its aim to make Paris a model of cleanliness. 
These €68 fines are being handed out in greater numbers for “uncivil” behaviour such as tossing cigarette butts, public urination and dumping rubbish around the city.  
And a stroll around certain black spots in the French capital quickly reveals why the measures are so necessary.
The sight of rubbish strewn around, waste bins overflowing and scores of cigarette butts thrown on the ground is an eyesore many who live in the city have long complained about. As is the stench of urine, that often pervades corners of many streets, especially after dark.
Not many would argue against the idea that Paris is in real need of a spring clean or a summer spruce up.
And the the City Hall appears to mean business with the number of fines handed out from January to June this year representing a rise of 67 percent on the same period in 2016.
“People need to understand that being dirty has a cost,” said Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo.  
But while a €68 fine might be enough to deter an individual from making the same mistake twice (at least in busy places), the fines are only going some of the way to making up the money the city is spending on its efforts to keep the streets clean. 

Photo: IG St PauliYouTube Screenshot

After introducing the new clean-up plan with more materials and officers in March 2016, Paris authorities have dedicated increasingly large sums of money to cleaning the streets. 
“We spend €500 million per year on cleaning up Paris. It's not possible to continue like this,” the mayor said. 
Certain parts of the capital are known as being black spots for littering, notably the trendy Canal Saint Martin which attracts legions of picnickers on hot summer evenings.
But when they leave at night, the quays along the water's edge often look like rubbish tips, much to the annoyance of local residents, who recently launched a campaign to raise awareness.
Paris's bohemian canal - now more tip than hip
And even though the French capital has a team dedicated to tackling Parisians'”uncivil behaviour”, which, since the new plan was launched in March 2016, has increased both in number and power, it still doesn't seem to be enough. 
“These are unacceptable and uncivil habits,” said Hidalgo.”I do not accept the situation as it is today.”
In order to combat the situation, the Paris authorities are considering further measures, like calling in private contractors to take on the task of cleaning up the litter left in the evenings and weekends. 
The problem of dirty streets has led to another scourge that the city's authorities are desperately trying to tackle – rats.

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Revealed: The fastest way to get across Paris

Car, moped, public transport, or electric bicycle - which means of transport is the quickest way to get across Paris?

Revealed: The fastest way to get across Paris

One intrepid reporter for French daily Le Parisien decided to find out. 

The challenge was simple. Which mode of transport would get the journalist from the heart of Fontenay-sous-Bois in the eastern suburbs to the newspaper’s office on Boulevard de Grenelle, west Paris, fastest?

Over four separate journeys, each one in the middle of rush hour, the electric bicycle was quickest and easiest. More expensive than conventional bikes, electric bikes do come with a government subsidy.

The journey was described as ‘pleasant and touristy’ on a dry but chilly morning going via dedicated cycle lanes that meant the dogged journalist avoided having to weave in and out of traffic.

It took, in total, 47 minutes from start to finish at an average speed of 19km/h, on a trip described as “comfortable” but with a caveat for bad weather. The cost was a few centimes for charging up the bike.

In comparison, a car journey between the same points took 1 hour 27 minutes – a journey not helped by a broken-down vehicle. Even accounting for that, according to the reporter’s traffic app, the journey should – going via part of the capital’s southern ringroad – have taken about 1 hr 12.

Average speed in the car was 15km/h, and it cost about €2.85 in diesel – plus parking.

A “chaotic and stressful” moped trip took 1 hour 3 minutes, and cost €1.30 in unleaded petrol.

Public transport – the RER and Metro combined via RER A to Charles-de-Gaulle-Étoile then Metro line 6 to the station Bir-Hakeim – took 50 minutes door to door, including a 10-minute walk and cost €2.80. The journey was described as “tiring”.

READ ALSO 6 ways to get around Paris without the Metro