Gothenburg's rat-proof bins, Source: Gothenburg Municipality

Gothenburg tries out new idea in its war against rats

Gothenburg tries out new idea in its war against rats

The rodents have been a growing problem in recent years likely linked to improper food disposal

The Swedish city of Gothenburg has a problem with rats. It may sound like something out of a Dickensian novel but these large rodents have never actually disappeared and can occasionally present hygienic challenges to proper urban development.

That is why the local Park and Nature Committee will issue an action in March plan that will constitute several activities and the identification of two pilot areas with the aim of drastically reducing the rat population there. The two areas in question are Fredsstan and parts of Avenyn.

The proposed measures are a mixture of technology and design solutions

Following interviews with property and business owners in affected areas as well as some observational studies it was decided to implement trial activities throughout the spring with the aim of mitigating the rodent issue.

Two of the activities will be visible to the city’s residents and one will not.

The visible activities involve the installation of specially designed rat-proof trash bins in the streets of the pilot areas. The bins have smaller openings that are located near the top but they will also have smaller holes on their walls. One might wonder why there were holes on the bins’ sides in the first place and the reason is to prevent the placement of ads, messages or graffiti.

50 of these bins are to be installed and in fact, the process is already underway. Furthermore, there will be an awareness-raising campaign focused on the issue of rat population growth and how human activities are contributing to that. The aim is to lessen household food waste disposal and also to attract the collaboration of relevant stakeholders, such as restaurant owners and property managers.

The invisible part of the action plan will involve the installation of 14 electronic sensor traps inside Gotheburg’s sewerage system where rats are known to live and congregate. Whereas the first two measures will seek to push away rats from the urban public spaces, the latter is directly aimed at reducing their population.

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