Sabrina Berweger
Sabrina Berweger
  • dl / hb / dt / barfi
  • Aktualisiert am

Local News Summary of May, 10th

  • Sudden fight against rubbish through major invasion of rubbish bins
  • Happy in end in toilet dispute: The «friendly toilet» comes to Basel
  • Witnesses sought: Major damage caused by accident involving a lorry

Sudden fight against rubbish through major invasion of rubbish bins

The Basel authorities are staging a major assault against littering. This is clear to see at the moment all around the city. Previously, many parts of the city were plain and simply without a public bin. At the moment, all available types of bin can be seen at the same time around the city. Whoever issues fines against littering must also ensure that the public have reasonable means to dispose of their rubbish. In the past Basel there was justifiably a lack of bins to be seen. This period now, at least in this moment, in the past. It remains to be seen if this campaign is effective.

Designer piece from the good old days

The classic Basler city bin is clearly a design object which has seen better days in the past, when littering was not a popular sport. Unobtrusive, with modest capacity and a rim which made the hole for the rubbish smaller. The idea of the narrow hole was to make it difficult to stuff the thing full of household rubbish.

Stuffing power

However, that was a grave mistake. The stuffing power of the private household rubbish disposers was enormously underestimated. Whoever wanted to save the cost of rubbish bags would apparently discover remarkable techniques. It must once again be said, that this major problem did not exist before the introduction of the Bebbi-Sagg. Thereafter, the wave of littering began.

Slots in the sides

The next Basel rubbish bin model was agreeably more spacious. On top there was an ashtray, which we absolutely needed because every person caught throwing a cigarette butt onto a public street can incur a fine of 80 CHF. Unfortunately, most of these ashtrays in reality have also been stuffed full with other rubbish, to the point where they cannot be used for their original purpose. Then, other rubbish would have to literally be pushed through window-like slots in the sides of this model. You might also think that this effort required would prevent people from filling this sort of bin with their household rubbish. Yet another big mistake. The pieces of paper, chewing gum, sweetie wrappers and bottles are flattened and then squeezed into the ashtray. The household rubbish however passes easily through these small slots.

Powerful blue plastic containers

Now the authorities – out of sheer despair – have thrown aside all of their aesthetic inhibitions and have put massive blue wheelie bins with wheels everywhere in the city centre. Rubbish can be thrown into these massive bins without any problems. These massive things are anything other than beautiful, but they have a high capacity. What is amusing is that many people accurately place their rubbish right beside these containers.

Flap + foot pedal = contemplation

And now there is a totally new phenomenon – the solar powered rubbish bin with a crusher installed, which can swallow six times more rubbish as conventional designs. However, they also cost three times as much. At the moment they are being tested at three different places in town. Passers-by seem to be getting used to them. Maybe because they do not have an obvious slot to push rubbish in. Many more have a flap, which can be opened with a foot pedal. Actually it is a great thing. Apparently you have to think about it for a moment, before you dispose of your rubbish.

Up to the brim

This apparently is much harder for the public to get used to. Yesterday we examined one of these bins on the Mittlere Strasse. It was almost empty. A few metres away, there was one of those above-mentioned, standard model bins with an ashtray on top and side-entry window-style slots. It was absolutely stuffed full, right to the brim and, what’s more, even with the best intentions you could not put a cigarette out here.

Basel‘s littering tragic comedy

Basel has immersed itself in a new act of its littering tragic comedy. We are curious about the finale. Maybe we will one day - totally understandably - live on top of a mountain of rubbish, which matches to the wonderful title of the theatre show by Rainer Werner Fassbinder: „the rubbish, the city, and death.”

Happy in end in toilet dispute: The «friendly toilet» comes to Basel

The «friendly toilet» campaign in pubs and restaurants, with a sticker indicating toilets which can be used without obligation to purchase something, has existed in Lörrach for five years.However, Basler innkeepers feared that introducing a similar scheme would result in higher costs.

It fell on the government to make Basler toilets more «friendly». Speaking in July 2016, Maurus Ebneter, spokesperson of the innkeepers' association, told that innkeepers feared the costs if they opened the toilets for tourists since the costs for paper and toilet cleaning were too high. The reason was that the Basel tourism office had investigated whether the campaign running successfully in many cities eg in Thun and Lucerne could also be launched in Basel. Catrin Bosshard, from Hotel Basel, said yesterday at the launch of the campaign that the hotel was not reluctant to participate and that financial aspects were not important. The 31 participating restaurants from across the city get an annual refund of 2500 francs from the government.

Member of government, Hans-Peter Wessels, brought the good news to the Hotel Basel at Spalenberg that from now on, toilets in Basel will also become «friendly», so the public do not have to cross their legs. 

The construction department was hopeful that the situation could be somewhat alleviated through the scheme. Daniel Egloff, director of the Basel tourist office, explained that they had asked 40 restaurants all over the city to participate. He said that, in this second attempt, the innkeepers' association did not participate. He added that it was also important to find restaurants which had access for wheelchairs. Nine restaurants turned down the scheem for different reasons: Too crowded, wary of strangers, or aesthetic objections about the sticker.

The tourist office paid only 4'000 francs for the flyer and app when they bought it from the German association with the same name. Ten journalists attended Mr Wessels' speech in front of Hotel Basel in which he mentioned that Basel had more public toilets than Bern or Zurich; 83 in total. He understood however that the «friendly toilet» meant especially female-friendly. The «friendly toilet» was especially needed in the city centre: The three free of charge toilets at Barfüsserplatz were used by 180'000 people.

Witnesses sought: Major damage caused by accident involving a lorry

The police are looking for witnesses after an accident on Wednesday morning in the Chienberg Tunnel involving a lorry.

According to the latest information of Baselland police, a 32-year-old lorry driver was travelling through the Chienberg Tunnel towards Basel when the skip on his lorry fell off and struck the roof of the tunnel, causing major damage. Two other cars travelling in the other direction through the debris were also damaged.

Nobody was injured in the accident. The tunnel was completely closed for around two hours during the clean up operation. This caused tailbacks in both directions. Traffic was diverted locally.