The new Santa Cruz Cleaning and Waste Ordinance goes into effect today. This new ordinance comes to replace the one that until now regulated these aspects and that dated from the 80s. The approval of the state law of Circular Economy and the updating of many points of its articles are the main reason for the elaboration of this new ordinance, which has among its main novelties the prohibition of smoking on the beaches of the capital. Although the rule establishes that the City Council may establish spaces outside the beach for smokers, for the moment these points have not yet been created, so smoking is prohibited on all beaches as of today.
Article 43 is the one that regulates this point, in which it is detailed that “it is prohibited for users of the beaches and bathing areas of the municipality to deposit any type of waste directly on the sand or rocks, having to use the bins installed for this purpose according to the fraction of waste generated or transport it to a container or alternative deposit system installed in the public space”. In its second point it is detailed that “in order to avoid the presence of cigarette butts in the sand and the potential subsequent contamination of the coast, smoking is prohibited on the beaches and bathing areas of the municipality, except in areas specially authorized by the City Council ”. And in a third point it is stated that “the owners of beach bars, kiosks, restaurants and the like near the beaches or located inside them must avoid the production of scattered garbage, having to have the necessary containers or elements for it and being responsible of its collection and cleaning during the hours of exercise of the activity and at the end of this. Likewise, the use of single-use plastics is prohibited in the exercise of these activities.
The ordinance has not only been updated including new prohibitions such as the previous one, but it has also tightened the sanctions for issues that were already prohibited, such as urinating in the street, an issue that can be penalized with up to 750 euros, as it is considered a minor offence.
But throwing paper, pipe shells, or spitting in the street, or throwing water from windows or balconies is also considered a minor infraction, issues that are incorporated.
One of the novelties that the ordinance also includes is the obligation to separate waste, an infraction that, if detected by municipal inspectors or the Local Police, could be penalized with a maximum of 750 euros. Thus, the progressive implementation of the fifth container is also established, that is, the one destined for organic waste, which up to now has had such good results, according to the City Council, is giving in the Saludo-La Salle district, where the pilot test. In this same section, leaving the garbage outside the containers can be fined at least 2,000 euros.
From Public Services, its manager, Carlos Tarife, points out that logic will be applied at all times, so that if a container is full, or if it is more than 200 meters from a home, it will be assessed before proceeding to sanction.
Feeding animals on public roads is still prohibited, as is throwing any type of leaflet, pamphlet or similar advertising material onto public roads, or depositing dead animals in containers.
Another of the issues that is introduced in this ordinance is the obligation of the owners of unbuilt plots to fence them to avoid spills of any kind, as well as rat extermination and disinsection. The City Council will be able to access privately owned plots following the legal channels in this regard and passing on to the owner the cost that this action generates and the corresponding sanction for non-compliance and abandonment.
With regard to large waste generators (hotels, hospitals…) the obligation is introduced for them to manage it themselves.
The ordinance also introduces the possibility of rewarding those who recycle the most, with the creation of a rate that allows rewarding those who do it best.
Violations are divided into very serious, serious and minor. When the offenses have to do with waste management, very serious offenses will be penalized with fines ranging between 100,001 euros and 3,500,000 euros, and are related to putting public health and safety at risk, in most cases. In the case of serious infractions, the fines range between 2,001 euros and 100,000, except in the case of hazardous waste or contaminated soil, in which case the fine will range from 600,001 euros to 3,500,000 euros. This section, for example, includes the non-separation of waste at source. If the offense is considered minor, the fine will be up to 2,000 euros.
In the section referring to the cleaning of public spaces, very serious infractions may be fined up to 3,000 euros, considering as such, for example, damage to public furniture. Serious offenses may be fined up to 1,500 euros, and this section includes, for example, recidivism in the commission of minor offences. Finally, those considered minor will be penalized with amounts of up to 750 euros. This includes everything that is not considered as very serious or serious of what is included between articles 38 and 44.
The ordinance also includes in this section that, “given the prevailing circumstances, all or some of the economic sanctions specified in the previous sections may be substituted for work for the benefit of the community (such as cleaning work in public spaces).
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