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Berlin Wall park entrance fee mulled for rubbish

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Berlin Wall park entrance fee mulled for rubbish
Photo: DPA
12:55 CEST+02:00
People visiting one of Germany's most popular parks, built on the site of the Berlin Wall, could soon be asked to pay a euro entry – to help pay for the enormous clear-up of litter needed each week to stop it turning into a rubbish tip.

The Mauerpark was created shortly after the Wall fell in 1989 and runs along a section of the former death strip in central northern Berlin. Over recent years it has become a tourist magnet, filled with people from around the world as well as some locals.

Warm weekends are particularly busy, with up to 50,000 people turning the narrow strip of land into something more like a festival site than a park, with bands playing, a popular public karaoke session and a sprawling flea market.

But with this this popularity comes a huge litter problem, as despite the installation of bins with massive underground storage capacity, a huge amount of rubbish is simply left on the ground.

The district authority responsible expects to spend more than €100,000 on clearing up the litter this year – and in times of cuts and savings, this is becoming a problem, the Berliner Zeitung reported on Wednesday.

“What is there to say against [the idea]?” asked Roland Schröder, Social Democratic Party city development spokesman for the city.

“No-one would be forced to pay,” said head of the district Christian Democratic Party Johannes Kraft.

But the idea to install pay machines for visitors in order to raise at least some of the money needed to keep the park clear of rubbish has come up against strong opposition.

Members of the association “Friends of the Mauerpark” reject it. “The problem will not be solved in this way,” said the group's chairman Alexander Puell. He said the authorities should simply spend more on maintaining the parks.

“A park entrance fee would be a further step towards privatising public spaces,” he told the Berliner Zeitung.

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