The Metropolitan Police Department will join the Alice Ferguson Foundation in its efforts to curtail litter in the Washington area with Litter Enforcement Month (LEM) in April. During the month of April, these area law enforcement agencies will work to educate the public about the problems that littering causes to our physical environment and how it can contribute to the perception that crime is tolerated in a community. Many officers have found hard criminals and repeat offenders by noticing them littering. Some of the consequences of littering include:
- Accumulated trash spoils the watershed, creating a significant public health concern due to contaminated drinking water and impacts on marine life.
- Litter negatively impacts community aesthetics. Trash reduces real estate values and damages area business, recreation, and tourism.
- Trash can become a significant financial burden to families and individuals. A street with improperly discarded trash reduces home values, making it difficult to sell, or contribute to higher taxes in order to manage the storm drains and address the damage caused.
- Trash improperly disposed ends up in places other than where it was discarded. During the month of April, officers will be paying particular attention to littering offenses, so let’s keep things clean.
Penalties for littering are as follows:
- Illegal Dumping. Offenders may be imprisoned for up to 90 days and can pay $5,000 for the first offense and $10,000 for each subsequent offense; any person who dumps for commercial purpose shall be guilty of a felony, $40,000 fine and imprisonment not to exceed five years.
- Littering from a Vehicle. The Notice of Infraction (NOI) for littering from a vehicle carries a fine of $100. It applies to both public and private property.
- Non-Traffic Related Littering. The Notice of Violation (NOV) carries a fine of $75. If a violator refuses to identify self, he or she can be arrested for “Failure to make Identity Known.”