Italy to fine smokers up to €300 for dropping cigarette butts

Any littering 'not in a bin' will be targeted

Careless smokers who drop their unwanted cigarette butts on the ground could face fines under new laws in Italy.

The Italian parliament has passed a raft of measures aimed at tackling the country's littering and pollution problems, including high fines of €300 for smokers who toss their cigarette butts on the ground, according to The Local.

New "green economy" laws will also see citizen who spit out gum or absent-mindedly discard their shop receipts landed with penalties ranging between €30 and €150.

The legislation specifies that people will be targeted for dropping "small pieces of litter any place that isn't a bin: including the gutter, floor, and water."

Seventy-nine separate clauses cover the other measures, designed to improve the southern European country's environmental record.

A €35 million government investment will go towards combatting the smog which is reportedly enveloping many of Italy's biggest cities. 

Funding to make public transport completely free, and expand city-bike and carpooling schemes, will follow the examples already set in Milan and Turin, where air pollution has reached a dangerous all-time high.

Italy has the highest rate of air pollution-linked deaths in the EU, according to a report published in November this year.

The country also received the highest ever fine imposed by the EU on a single country - €40 million - for its dumping of illegal waste one year ago, Reuters reported.

Italy joined other world leaders at the climate change summit in Paris from 30 November to 12 December 2015.

The agreement saw all nations promise to reduce emissions, raise $100 billion a year by 2020 to aid poorer economies, and reach zero net emissions by later in this century.