By Benjamin Cost
Is Shanghai following Hong Kong’s lead? Almost half of the 500 respondents polled by a Shanghai Daily survey feel that placing heavy fines on metro “litterbugs” is an appropriate measure for combating the recent scourge of trash that’s strewing the trains, while another 39% say the fine should extend to those who eat on the Metro.
And considering the state of the trains recently, we don’t blame them. Trash collectors reportedly pick up 100 kilograms of trash from trains daily, and the figure is rising.
However, you might be surprised to discover that there’s already an anti-litter penalty in place which claims that litterers can pay up to 200RMB for their crime.
We say “claims,” because in spite of the ever-growing trash problem, almost nobody gets fined – something officials attribute to the complex procedure involved which entails audio or video evidence and official fine forms.
The same goes for munching your lunch on the Metro, which despite being banned in 2009, continues to go on unhindered due to difficulties enforcing the ban. But any morning commuter who’s sat next to someone obliviously slurping a garlicky noodle soup would agree that it’s about time authorities impose and enforce fines.
Right now, the best tactic appears to be posting pictures of Metro litterbugs and eaters caught in the act and trying to shame them into dropping their philistine ways.
Not to side with the Hong Kongers in the recent mainland-Hong Kong pissing contest that all began with noodle-eating on the Hong Kong MTR, but if you’re crying “cultural discrimination” due to being chastised for littering and eating on the metro, let us ask you: Does anyone really want “throws trash on ground” and “eats smelly food noisily on the subway” listed as part of the mannerisms associated with their culture?