A tonne of chicken manure is being dumped in the central park of university town Lund today, to try to stop tens of thousands of residents gathering to celebrate Walpurgis Night.
AN estimated 30,000 residents traditionally mark the country’s tradititional celebrations in the park on the last day of the month, with parties and bonfires.
Chairman of the local council’s environment committee, Gustav Lundblad, told Sydsvenskan newspaper that “Lund could very well become an epicentre for the spread of the coronavirus on the last night in April, [so] I think it’s a good initiative.
“We get the opportunity to fertilise the lawns, and at the same time it will stink and so it may not be so nice to sit and drink beer in the park,” said Lundblad, noting however, that the smell is unlikely to be confined to the park.
While he admitted he isn’t a fertiliser expert, Lundblad said “it is clear that it might smell a bit outside the park as well, these are chicken droppings, after all.
“I cannot guarantee that the rest of the city will be odourless. But the point is to keep people out of the city park.”
Sweden has taken a more relaxed approach to combating the spread of coronavirus, urging the public to take personal responsibility rather than imposing a lockdown like its Nordic neighbours and the rest of Europe.
And because the Walpurgis Night festivities, celebrated on April 30 across central and northern Europe, are classed as ‘spontaneous’ events, they cannot be banned by authorities.
All the same, the authorities in many towns and cities in Sweden have asked people to skip the tradition this year.
The leader of Lund Council, Philip Sandberg, said it would “not be a pleasant experience … to sit in a park that stinks of chicken manure, but it will be good for the lawns, as chicken manure contains a lot of phosphorus and nitrogen, so we’ll get a really nice park for the summer.”
Lund is home to one of Sweden’s biggest universities and many of the municipality’s 125,000-odd inhabitants are students who gather in the park in the afternoon and evening for picnics before the Walpurgis celebrations get underway in full force.
Yesterday, it was confirmed Sweden’s Covid-19 infection rate had exceeded 20,000.
Shops, restaurants and gyms have remained open, but planned gatherings of more than 50 people are prohibited in Sweden.
In general, the Swedes are asked to respect social distancing, work from home, avoid non-essential travel, and stay inside if they are elderly or ill. Shops, restaurants and gyms have remained open.