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March 5, 2012

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Home » Metro » Public Services

Fine Metro litterbugs, say readers in poll

HEFTY fines for litterbugs and a ban on eating in subway carriages are the best ways to tackle the growing litter problem on Metro trains, according to a Shanghai Daily survey.

Some 45 percent of more than 500 respondents in the online polls supported the idea of heavy fines for passengers who drop litter in subway trains.

And another 39 percent agreed with the proposition that eating should be banned on trains.

The Shanghai Metro operator reports that staff collect, on average, 100 kilograms of trash from trains every day - a figure that is rising.

The city did include a "no eating" proposal in its 2009 Metro regulation but this was never adopted due to difficulties with implementation.

However, the growing volume of trash has brought the issue to the fore once more.

According to the 2009 Metro regulation, eating and drinking is banned on trains and in stations. But it does not say how - or indeed if - commuters would be fined if caught.

As the regulation was never adopted effectively, snacking commuters are a familiar sight on trains - especially during morning rush hour.

"It's terrible when people eat breakfast next to you on the train," said Samuel Wen, a regular Metro commuter.

"The smell makes me feel uncomfortable and I'm always scared they might drop food or spill a drink on me, as the trains are far too crowded."

The Metro operator said there is no plan to implement a ban on eating on trains.

Meanwhile, although city laws state that litterbugs can be fined up to 200 yuan (US$32), very few have had to pay a penalty.

Local public sanitation authorities admitted they have fined virtually no one, saying it is a complicated process.

Audio or video evidence and formal fine bills are required, officials said.

But the growing quantity of litter has seen some commuters take their own initiative, uploading photographs of Metro litterbugs on to the Internet in the hope that public condemnation will shame them into changing their ways.

Other possible deterrents found little favour with survey respondents. Only 10 percent thought hiring more cleaners would improve the situation.

And only 6 percent called for extra surveillance cameras.

Readers can still take part in the Metro litter poll at


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