Orihuela council has said that it is to introduce an ‘Ordinance of Coexistence’, a series of sanctions and fines for more than a hundred offenses, such as spitting in the street or rummaging through dustbins, which will each attract fines of up to 750 euros.
The local government is still preparing the document which will include a list of penalties for those who dig through refuse containers, specifically, the act of “rummaging, digging and removing items that have been deposited in bins and containers positioned on the public highway”.
The provisional text also includes many other offences that will be punished, such as depositing food on public roads without specific authorisation (750 euros); defecating, urinating or spitting in public spaces (up to 300 euros);
Throwing rubbish out of a car window, including cigarette butts, will be punishable with a fine of up to 750 euros as will showing discriminatory behaviour towards others, xenophobic, racist or sexist
Busking and other similar street activities will also incur fines such tarot, massage or music (up to 500 euros) while taking animals into gardens, parks or play areas intended for the use of children will attract a fine of up to € 601.
And neither do children nor young people escape the ordinance, as those who practice stunts with bicycles, roller blades or skateboards, outside the areas provided for this purpose should also be punished, although finding such areas on the Orihuela Costa might prove difficult. Perhaps the efforts of the Orihuela council might be better spent ensuring that youngsters first have spaces that are available for cycling and skateboarding.
When complete, the notification will appear on the bulletin board of the Orihuela council website. There will then be a period of 15 days during which time the public will be able to comment and send in their suggestions or amendments to the town hall.
Of course any sanctions that are deemed necessary will have to be administered by the Local Police who are seemingly unable to cope with many of their day to day activities already.
They have certainly had little influence on the number of ‘Looky Looky’ men that invade the Cabo Roig strip on a nightly basis, they seem to be totally oblivious of the regulations regarding parking on the Orihuela Costa, where motorists and delivery drivers have a completely carefree attitude to the subject, and they are also unmindful of the buskers, musicians and illegal tattoo artists that regularly camp on our streets, although I suspect that their inactions are more to do with the policy that is administered from above rather than their own respective choices.
But it also seems to be such simple common sense that anyone who has to rummage through a dustbin to pick out and sell on or re-use another person’s waste is hardly likely to have the ready cash needed to pay his 750 euro fine, a point that seems to have escaped our elected leaders in Orihuela. Perhaps, instead of treating many such individuals as criminals, they should be provided with additional support, something with which the spokesperson for Cambiemos Orihuela, Karlos Bernabé, readily agreed.
Bernabé also said that there are some positive and necessary elements in the document in terms of animal protection, control of waste and the fight against various forms of discrimination; but, “many of the elements could be dealt with separately in other Ordinances. And neither do these positive elements in any way justify many of the other completely absurd sanctions and offenses that are proposed.”
He stated that the draft ordinance is unfair to both the majority of citizens and to the Local Police themselves who will have to administer the sanctions. “We are going to give our policemen very real problems. They will be required to persecute many residents unjustly and they will end up being seen purely as disciplinarians and not as an instrument of help and service which they should be. In fact, the council has often said that “we have many policemen with great mediating skills, so what must be done is to use those skills and not to make them agents of sanction that will turn them into enemies of the people.”