In times of pandemic, Berliners left much more garbage in the city’s green spaces. The amount of garbage disposed of grew in seven districts that reported figures in 2021 compared to the previous year from 2,484 to 3,245 tons. This is how it arises from the response of the Environmental Administration of the Senate to a request from the parliamentary group of the CDU.
Domestic and bulky waste also increased significantly in the parks managed by the state-owned Grün Berlin GmbH. In the Britzer Garden and on the Tempelhofer Feld, visitors disposed of 308.4 tons of waste in 2021. In the first year Corona 2020 it was 283.5 tons.
The amount of rubbish in Mauerpark increased enormously. The mass of garbage there grew more than 70 percent from 1,435 cubic meters to 2,478 cubic meters last year. The Gleisdreieck park also saw a large increase from 647 to 930 cubic meters of waste in the green zone.
The total amount of waste in Berlin’s parks is likely to be significantly higher. But with Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg, Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf, Pankow, Reinickendorf and Spandau, five districts were unable to provide any data. Also not included in the statistics are the quantities disposed of by the Berlin city cleaning department on behalf of the state and the districts.
Over the course of the pandemic, many people have moved their private gatherings outside last year. Last but not least, due to corona restrictions, many unauthorized birthday celebrations and parties took place in the parks and green spaces, often without disposing of the waste that was produced. Furthermore, Berlin’s green spaces were also used more frequently for illegal dumping of bulky waste and rubble.
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In the Treptow-Köpenick district, the amount of bulky waste in green areas increased by 50 percent to 15 tons. The department found a further 26 cubic meters of scrap in Mauerpark.
The forests of Berlin are becoming more and more illegal dumps. There are no exact figures on this, a spokeswoman for the Senate Environmental Administration said on request. “But it is a clear finding from our forestry offices that more waste is disposed of in the forest.”
In addition to the increased amount of household waste left behind by the increased number of visitors during the pandemic years, it is also evident “that more hazardous waste, such as insulation wool, asbestos panels, roofing felt, or barrels of unknown content. and dumped there on purpose.”
In order to keep Berlin’s parks clean despite the increased number of visitors, the Berliner Stadtreinigung (BSR) takes care of an increasing number of green spaces. As of May 2021, BSR has been removing waste in 79 parks and 17 forests.
The districts do not have enough money to maintain the parks.
District park departments are also responsible for park cleanups, but can hardly do their tasks justice due to limited financial resources. The economic endowment of the districts for the maintenance of green spaces “does not vary in deficit and does not cover the technically necessary needs,” explains the environmental administration.
The Mitte district writes that there was more money in the last double budget. However, steep price increases of up to 30 percent for contracts and additional waste would have completely consumed the increased funding: “Due to the further increase in overuse, the condition of our green spaces has continued to deteriorate. “.
A look at the draft of the new 2022/23 double budget gives districts little hope. The Neukölln district reported that the only minimal financial growth would “thwart” the positive developments of recent years with simultaneous price increases and larger amounts of waste.