Guangzhou is cleaning up its act

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 06 August, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 06 August, 2009, 12:00am

Spitting and littering are health hazards and ruin the environment. In a bid to clean up the city, authorities in Guangzhou enacted a new law on July 10.

Under the new law, anyone caught spitting or littering on Beijing Road, the city's famous pedestrian area, can be fined for 50 yuan (HK$56.70).

The measure is part of efforts to clean up the city's image ahead of the 2010 Asian Games, which it will host. The crackdown on people who spit and litter is a first by the Guangzhou government.

Eight people have been employed to patrol and enforce the new rules along Beijing Road. Student volunteers will join the group on weekends.

Every member of the patrol has been given a video camera to help them record evidence.

First-time offenders will not be fined, but they will be lectured about environmental hygiene.

'We caught a senior citizen spitting and a child littering on the first day, but we didn't fine them as they quickly apologised for their mistake and cleaned up [the mess],' said Chen Jianxing, a member of a patrol group.

'The Beijing Road environment is much better than before,' said Xu Chaohui, the deputy director of Beijing Road Office.

'There used to be loads of rubbish, such as cigarette butts and [empty] cans, around the rubbish bin. You won't see this situation [happening] again.'

A month before the fines were due to come into effect, the patrol group warned citizens that spitting and littering would soon be outlawed. Authorities believe it is one of the main reasons why the place has become much cleaner.

Many citizens support the law. Pan Weixing said the cleaner environment could help improve health standards in addition to benefiting next year's Asian Games.

'Improving environmental awareness is a good way of supporting the Games,' he said.