Progreso, Yucatán — A 45-year-old Oaxaca native was stopped by police and jailed for littering just a day after a tough new law punishing litterbugs was signed by the mayor.
Accused of tossing a garbage bag filled with refuse out of his car on Calle 125, near the beach, he was held for 36 hours and released. The jail time was in lieu of a 2,200-peso fine. Repeat offenders will be punished more severely under the law.
The initiative is one of the first from the new mayor, Julián Zacarías, who took office Sept. 1.
Garbage is a chronic problem in Progreso, which struggles to keep up its image when cruise ships pull in. Garbage collection has been called inconsistent and unreliable, and other residents avoid collection fees by surreptitiously dumping trash in makeshift dumps.
Soon after the new law was announced at a press conference, the city organized a mega street-cleaning operation. Approximately 450 tons of waste were collected by 180 city workers, the Unified Garbage Collection Union and volunteers.
Sipse news agency reported that the port city looked “80 percent cleaner compared to previous days.”
Unfortunately, part of the population, mainly on Calles 35, 37 and 38, are reluctant to abide by the law, said the director of Public Services and Ecology, Karim Dib López.
He indicated that about 10 inspectors who patrol the streets are empowered to sanction litterers with fines.