The city council is launching another campaign to clean up Rome and crack down on residents who dont respect the capital. From June a task force of 300 workers will patrol the streets, and half of them will have the power to fine citizens caught breaking the law.

Vandals caught damaging or defacing buildings and monuments will be charged up to e1,500 if they dont pay the present e500 fine. Dog owners who let their pets foul the streets face fines of up to e300 (e100 if paid within 60 days). Plans to impose the same penalty for hanging washing out to dry in public appear unrealistic.

Meanwhile, the capitals mounting refuse problem is to be tackled with the introduction of 13,000 replacement rubbish containers. The new cassonetti are more roomy, easier to open and close, and will be more durable. Each container costs e560 and is insured for three years. All of the 26,000 cassonetti in Rome are scheduled to be replaced by the end of 2003, and 4,000 new containers added.

In a separate move the city council has ruled that the billboards which dominate buildings under restoration must cover no more than 20 per cent of the faade.