MPD: “April is Litter Enforcement Month” Tickets Range from $50 to $500

Photo by PoPville flickr user johnmcochran2012

I’m told special attention will be focused on illegal dumping and littering from vehicles. Each police district will have patrols addressing these issues for the next month. There is a ticket for littering from vehicles that start at $50 and illegal dumping can be $500.

From MPD:

“To understand the purpose of Litter Enforcement, we must first have a working definition.

Litter consists of waste products that have been disposed improperly, without consent, at an inappropriate location. Litter can also be used as a verb. To litter means to throw (often man-made) objects onto the ground and leave them indefinitely or for others to dispose of as opposed to disposing of them properly.

Larger hazardous items such as tires, appliances, electronics and large industrial containers are often dumped in isolated locations, such as National Forests and other public land.

It is a human impact on the environment and is a serious environmental issue in many countries. Litter can exist in the environment for long periods of time before degrading and be transported large distances into the world’s oceans. Litter can affect quality of life.

Cigarette butts are the most littered item in the world, with 4.5 trillion discarded annually. Cigarette butts can take up to five years to completely break down. Statistics in 2003 showed metal/aluminum soft drink cans as the least littered item.

Litter can remain either visible for extended periods of time before it eventually biodegrades, with some items made of condensed glass, styrofoam or plastic possibly remaining in the environment for over a million years.

About 18 percent of litter, usually traveling through stormwater systems, ends up in local streams, rivers, and waterways. Uncollected litter can accrete and flow into streams, local bays and estuaries. Litter in the ocean either washes up on beaches or collects in Ocean gyres such as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. About 80 percent of marine debris comes from land-based sources.

Some litter that is collected can be recycled, however degraded litter cannot be recycled and eventually degrades to sludge, often toxic. The majority of litter that is collected goes to landfills.”

37 Comment

  • I would like every month to be litter enforcement month. Litter is my #1 complaint about my neighborhood.

  • ” Statistics in 2003 showed metal/aluminum soft drink cans as the least littered item.”

    i would have expected diamond rings to be the least littered item. probably a close second.

    • And 11 year old statistics make great reference points!

    • Yeah, they didn’t phrase that very well. I guess they meant “Of commonly littered items, metal/aluminum drink cans are the least littered.” (Although that too sounds like it needs work.)

  • Litter: The Scourge of DC. I’d much rather have Drug Dealers Month… Or Assaults, Burglaries, Wreckless Driving, Muggins, etc.

  • I would also like to see more trash cans. We’ve asked, but still no results.

    • “It’s the government’s fault, they make it so hard for us to follow the rules!”

      • I doubt Anonymous 3:32 pm is excusing the littering because of an absence of trash cans — he/she is probably just desperate for any measure that might decrease litter.

    • We still have it so much better than LA. Last year in LA I ended up carrying an empty cup with me all day and throwing it out at home because I never came across a public trash can.

    • I have never thrown something on the ground just because I don’t see a garbage can in sight.

      • I think that holds true for most PoPvillagers. (PoPvilleians? PoPvilleins?) But unfortunately this doesn’t hold true for everyone in D.C.
        Some people will throw their trash on the ground even if there’s a street litter can 10 feet away. There’s probably no reaching them (other than fining them). But I imagine there’s an in-between group of people who generally litter, but will use a street litter can if one happens to be nearby.

      • I would never throw large trash on the ground, but I admit that I will toss a cigarette butt if I don’t see any trash cans within 2 blocks or so.

  • It’s nice that they’re going to enforce some laws for a month.

  • They will rake in a fortune if they stake out 19th/Benning Rd and at H/8th St NE!

    • Agreed. I can’t remember how many times I’ve seen someone dump chicken wing bones out their car window on U St. Fine them please (unlikely).

  • Good!!! I hate when I see people litter. I always give them a death stare but I never say anything because I just assume that people who purposefully throw stuff on the ground are either crazy/will beat me up.

    • Oh, I say something. Got into it with a crackhead in the neighborhood once, but the teenagers I’ve talked to responded right away. Like so many people say, it’s like they are desperate for some direction in life.

  • I’m all for additional petty taxes on Maryland and Virginia drivers. This is what the city must resort to when it doesn’t have Home Rule.
    In the meantime – gimme that money, litterbugs!

  • I don’t wish harm on many..but for the select few that smoke and then throw their butts on the ground(Often) – i wish cancer for those folks.

    • epric002

      is there a 311 category to report chronic cigarette butt littering? there’s an apt building in my neighborhood where the entire front area is just COVERED in cigarette butts. it’s disgusting.

      • Try sanitation enforcement under 311 and select “other”. I’ve used it for cigs before… They are breaking the littering ordinance. Or you can just call 311 to file a complaint.

  • Yes, and please take your time giving out tickets on Spring Road between Holmeade & 14th St. NW. Folks exiting La Carolina on the corner of 14th like to clean out their crappy cars into my front yard. Of course, this is in addition to the foot traffic disposing of their bear claw, tootsie roll, ding dong, and chip bag wrappers.

  • This has been a scourge in Columbia Heights for awhile. How many times have I walked past someone who willfully threw her cigarette pack or Chipotle cup on the ground while blithfully walking by. Then there’s all the dumping that I don’t witness happening but see in the neighborhood. Let’s not act like this is the most serious problem in the city, but let’s give this problem its due. It’s a quality of life issue, it’s about the relationship people in their community have with themselves, their neighbors and their streets. If we can’t address something so basic, this cultural strain that says it’s ok to trash the hell out of your own city blocks or throw sh*t in front of your neighbor’s yard, then how are we ever going to take these larger issues seriously?

  • Littering cigarette butts seems to be unfortunately considered acceptable by society in general. While any other kind of littering would typically get negative reactions from most people, littering butts seems like it’s treated as nothing, like going 5 mph over the speed limit. I’m sure plenty of smokers are responsible people, but I’ve got to say, I can probably count on one hand the number of times I’ve seen someone properly dispose of their stuff. Some are even so used to littering they’ll throw down right next to one of those ashtray stands.

    • As a smoker, this really pisses me off. I go out of my way to walk to the nearest trash can to dispose of my butts. I commented above that I have certainly tossed them if I cant find a can within a 2 block walk or so, but otherwise I never throw them on the ground. It really irks me when I will run over to a trash can to throw mine away, and the people I am with will just toss them on the ground.
      It evens out though, because my yard is always full of Little Debbie wrappers (which I can’t say I have ever tried).

  • I hope they don’t catch me during jaywalking enforcement month.

  • I keeps my block clean. Take in about 5 gallons per week. I’d say split pretty evenly between school kid candy wrappers, local Hispanic car cleaning out to the curb, and commuter out the window fall off the car junk.

  • This ranks up there with the “Please Don’t Run Red Lights” signs downtown. Seriously we have to ask nicely!! MPD should be attentive to ALL infractions 24/7/365.

  • Will this include residents who illegally use curbside litter cans to deposit their daily household garbage (which inevitably includes recyclables)? If so, the corner of 1st and P NW will yield thousands of dollars every day, from folks too lazy & selfish to put out their bins once a week.

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