Towns hire ‘rubbish scouts’ to keep summer BBQs tidy

Towns and cities across Germany are tooling up for the summer, with many hiring extra staff to pounce on people sullying parks with barbecue rubbish.

Towns hire 'rubbish scouts' to keep summer BBQs tidy
Photo: DPA

It's a familiar sight in green spaces all over the Federal Republic: the morning after a particularly golden summer's evening, the grass is strewn with abandoned disposable barbecue trays, plastic cups and chicken bones.

Now town councils want to take on private security companies or even students to patrol their best-loved grilling spots and prod people into clearing up after themselves.

“We've noticed that it isn't enough to put out signs,” said Gerhard Bomhoff of the Werdersee Verein, which takes care of the lake of the same name near Bremen.

People enjoying the lake in the summer had been ignoring the barbecue area created by city authorities – so now four students have been hired to patrol the shore and give out information flyers and rubbish bags.

Meanwhile in Munich, 22 private security guards are now on patrol along the banks of the Isar river.

Rubbish piled around overflowing bins is a familiar sight in parks across Germany in summer. Photo: DPA

While they formerly only patrolled in the sunshine, they are now also deployed on rainy days as some die-hards were grilling under the city's bridges.

Munich faced a 150-tonne mountain of barbecue-related rubbish over summer 2015 – which cost the Bavarian capital some €5,000 per week to clean up.

Carrot or stick?

While the private security and students taken on in some cities can't hand out fines, other towns have ordered their police forces onto the case.

In Frankfurt, for example, police can slap messy party people with a €50 on-the-spot fine, as well as a bill for the cleanup.

Berlin has gone the other way, betting on providing large containers at popular barbecue spots like Mauerpark and the former airport at Tempelhof where people can get rid of their rubbish just metres away from designated grilling areas.

Many cities have also banned disposable barbecues and camp fires, as they leave unsightly burn marks on the grass.

But enterprising city politicians in Cologne and Düsseldorf have suggested a way to turn the barbecue problem into a money-making wheeze: installing electric grills at popular barbecue places that can be activated via a coin slot.

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Paris Agriculture show returns for 2022 event

The Paris farm show is back after being cancelled last year due to the pandemic. Set to be held one month before the presidential election, the 2022 event will be politically loaded.

French President Emmanuel Macron checks the quality of a cow during the Paris Agriculture show.
French President Emmanuel Macron checks the quality of a cow during the Paris Agriculture show. The event returns in late February after being cancelled last year due to the pandemic. (Photo by Ludovic Marin / POOL / AFP)

The organisers of the Salon de l’agriculture, an annual farm show held in Paris, have announced that the 2022 event will be held from February 26th – March 6th.

The 2021 edition was cancelled due to the Covid pandemic – and the 2020 event was cut short – and there had been fears that this year would suffer the same fate. 

“This edition will not be like the others,” wrote the organisers in a statement, out of “respect for the health guidelines.” 

Mask-wearing rules, added ventilation inside exhibition tents and special measures to facilitate tastings during the pandemic will be implemented. Visitors will need to hold a valid health pass. 

The event falls just over one month before the first round of the presidential election, set for April 10th – and candidates will be sure to milk the opportunity to score political points. 

The event is the annual highlight of the agriculture sector – which employs about 759,000 people in France – and many more rely on the agricultural sector indirectly for employment. The sector was valued at €81.2 billion in 2021.

“This is a highly anticipated event, not just for the farming community, but also for citizens, political leaders and the media,” wrote the event organisers. 

Former President Jacques Chirac pioneered the use of the farm show as a political event, visiting almost every year from 1972- 2011. 

Former President Jacques Chirac inaugurates the 2007 Paris farm show.

Former President Jacques Chirac inaugurates the 2007 Paris farm show. (Photo by PATRICK KOVARIK / POOL / AFP)

In 2019, French President Emmanuel Macron spent 14 hours strolling through the farm show, shaking hands and speaking with producers. This marathon visit set a new record for a sitting president. 

Previously, Francois Hollande is reported to have paid a 10 hour visit, Jacques Chirac 5.5 hours and Nicolas Sarkozy just four hours. 

The Local visited the show in 2020 to find out why it was so important for politicians to attend. 

READ MORE Why petting cows at the farm show is crucial for French politicians

The event, which is held at the Porte de Versailles in the south of Paris, isn’t just for farmers and politicians – it’s hugely popular with the public and thousands of people usually attend. 

The full ticket price is €15, for children between 6-12 it is €8 and children under six can go free. There are also group discounts available. 

Tickets can be bought online here and at the venue itself.