Amsterdam council is issuing a city wide ban on feeding ducks and pigeons to curb the growing numbers of rats in the capital, effective from spring this year.
Reports about rats rose 60% to 5,441 in 2020 and health board pest control officers were called out some 3,200 times. The figures for last year are not yet known but there is no reason to doubt the numbers will be higher still, a spokesman told the the Parool.
A ban was already in place in Amsterdam Zuid, Oost and most recently West and the rest of the city is expected to follow later this month.
The city’s seven borough councils are mounting a joint campaign to make people aware of the problem.
‘Most people like the idea of feeding the ducks but in reality it is not so nice,’ West official Carolien de Heer told the paper. ‘Food gets strewn around and rats take their chance. What is more, bread is far too salty, possibly even dangerous, for ducks. You really aren’t doing them a favour’.
Feeding ducks and pigeons is not the only cause of the growing number of rats, De Heer said. Rubbish bags containing food and dumped next to (overflowing) bins are another reason for the city’s rat plague.
Policing the ban and handing out fines to grandparents who are feeding the ducks with the grandchildren is not going to happen, De Heer said, but people will be told why feeding birds is being discouraged.
People who live in Noord, Nieuw-West, West and Oost can take their stale bread to special ‘bread bins’ where is is collected and turned into green energy.
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