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Paris declares war on rats, smokers

The mayor of Paris said the city would spend 1.5 million euros ($1.6 million) to rid the French capital of rats and install more public ashtrays to clean up the city’s streets.

In an interview with Journal du Dimanche weekly, Mayor Anne Hidalgo unveiled a 10-point plan aimed at making cleanliness a “priority”.

The measures include increasing the number of sanitation workers and health inspectors, expanding the hours for garbage pickup, and urging restaurants and buildings to provide more ashtrays at entrances and exit points.

Municipal workers collect more than 150 tons of cigarette butts every year in Paris.

“We already allot 500 million euros a year for cleanliness and waste management…and the situation has improved,” she said.

“But it is clear that Paris is not yet perfectly clean. I want to speed up, increase efforts. It is a top priority,” she said.

“In a civilized city, cleanliness must be everybody’s responsibility,” she said, calling for a change in the mindsets and habits of residents.

“In Tokyo, everything is clean and yet there are no dustbins because people wait to get home before throwing their waste.”

In announcing the 1.5-million euro anti-rodent campaign, Hidalgo said the city would buy new traps for the rats and surround some of the city’s 30,000 rubbish bins with wooden or Plexiglass bases.

The bins are currently lined with flimsy plastic bags designed to avert terror attacks by making it harder to hide explosives in them.

The Journal du Dimanche said cleanliness “is the city’s management weak point”. (AFP)

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