1. Parisians own about 200,000 dogs.
2. Those dogs leave behind approximately ten tons of droppings every day.
3. In the average year, it is believed that six hundred people break a limb slipping on such droppings, or when trying to pick the droppings up.
4. A brigade of sixty green motorcycles drives around town, picking up droppings. Of course they reach only a small percentage of the total.
5. There is a sizeable fine (about five hundred dollars) for leaving droppings behind. In a recent year only four people had to pay the fine.
6. The core problem is the absence of a Parisian police force. The only police in Paris are the Police Nationale. They consider it beneath their dignity to enforce such laws.
7. The city of Paris cannot control its own bylaws for security, traffic, or sanitation.
8. Only towns with less than ten thousand inhabitants are allowed to have their own police forces. Larger police forces would be considered a threat to national power.
9. There is something to be said for federalism after all.
The facts are from the stimulating Sixty Million Frenchmen Can’t Be Wrong, by Jean-Benoit Nadeau and Julie Barlow. If you are looking for a book to explain how France works, here is a good place to start.