A look at what's going on in Trinidad, on H Street, and in the larger area north of Capitol Hill.

Monday, September 01, 2014

MPD Steps Up Anti-Littering Efforts

This 2005 photo shows how much of a problem litter has sometimes posed on H Street

Make sure that trash you toss winds up in the can. An errant piece could cost you a lot if you get caught. I don't think I've ever actually heard of anyone receiving a littering citation in the 13 years I've lived in the District, but perhaps that will change (a girl can dream). Press release after the jump.
Metropolitan Police Anti-Littering Enforcement Program Expanded Citywide

(Washington, DC) – On Monday, September 1, 2014, the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) launched citywide enforcement of the District of Columbia’s anti-littering laws, allowing officers to issue $75 Notices of Violation (NOV) to any pedestrian observed littering. The citywide enforcement comes after warnings were issued during the month of August.

If an officer sees a person dropping waste material of any kind on public space, in waterways, or on someone else’s private property, the person may receive a $75 NOV for littering. Anyone issued the NOV is required to provide their accurate name and address to the officer. Those who refuse or fail to provide their accurate name and address can be arrested and, upon conviction, be fined an additional $100 to $250 by the D.C. Superior Court. Failure to respond to a littering ticket by either paying the fine or appealing the ticket to the Office of Administrative Hearings will result in a doubling of the fine.

MPD officers can also issue $100 traffic tickets to the driver of any vehicle where an officer observes either the driver or any passenger toss trash of any kind onto someone else’s private property or onto any public space, such as streets, alleys, or sidewalks.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Praying this helps clean up 8th and H, but I doubt it. Why do people think it's ok to litter? There are trash cans all on H Street. Is it so hard to be a decent human being?

Sep 1, 2014, 7:22:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This sounds good, but I have my doubts. I had 2 officers tell me that there is no law against pedestrians littering when I requested they ticket some teenagers who threw trash on the ground right in front of us. So either the police are ill-informed of the laws they are supposed to enforce, this enforcement effort is for a non-existent law and will be stopped as soon as one intelligent person drags a lawyer into court, or the cops just don't care about this issue and will lie to avoid having to enforce littering laws. My money is on the last option.

Sep 1, 2014, 8:48:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 8:48: it clearly states the law went in to effect today. So maybe it's you who is ill-informed, not the police.

Sep 1, 2014, 8:52:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, 8:52, it was either A or C. A Google turned up an old article indicating DC's littering laws were passed in 2009, and do include pedestrians. The officers told me that this law did not exist last year, in 2013.

Also, to assist you in developing your reading comprehension, it does not state that the *law* went into effect today, but rather the *initiative,* which was earlier described as a crack down.

Sep 1, 2014, 8:58:00 PM

Anonymous Annoyingmous said...

It would be nice if someone in authority truly cared about this, but I doubt they will. I've lived in a lot of cities; and I've never seen littering as bad as it is here, anywhere.

Sep 1, 2014, 9:36:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you serious? I've lived in lots of cities too, and DC is way cleaner than most. NYC? Great town, but FULL of trash. Philly is even worse. LA is disgusting with trash. Unless we talk Canadian cities, I think DC is very clean.

Sep 1, 2014, 9:54:00 PM

Anonymous Annoyingmous said...

Yes, I'm serious. I haven't lived in NYC, LA or Philly -- although I have spent a fair amount of time in NYC (and not just Manhattan) and Philly and they didn't seem as covered in litter to me. Never even been to LA to visit, so I can't compare there -- maybe it's worse, I dunno. But I have lived in Louisville, Oakland, Chicago, Boston and Paris on the larger city side, and Charlottesville, Ann Arbor and Champaign-Urbana on the smaller city side, and none of them seemed to have as bad a littering problem as DC. Even the frequent time I spent in Detroit didn't seem as bad.

Sep 2, 2014, 7:47:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Handing out tickets is going to do nothing to curb littering. How are you going to make people pay? I'm going to guess that most of the litterers are not in the income tax paying, car registering, house owning set. You can penalize those people not littering when it comes time to pay for other city things with their name on it. You can't get money from people who dont have money and are just living life with only their basic needs being met

Sep 2, 2014, 11:25:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I mean "penalize those for not paying"

Sep 2, 2014, 11:26:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I'm going to guess that most of the litterers are not in the income tax paying, car registering, house owning set. You can penalize those people not littering when it comes time to pay for other city things with their name on it. You can't get money from people who dont have money and are just living life with only their basic needs being met."

Deduct from their EBT, Section 8, WIC, unemployment or whatever other city welfare they are getting then.

Sep 2, 2014, 12:42:00 PM

Anonymous Jesse said...

Anon 11:25 has a strong point.

Sep 2, 2014, 1:41:00 PM

Blogger inked said...

I see plenty of people tossing trash out of car windows. I suspect they probably own the cars they are driving.

Not a bit extreme?

I think the main factor will be actual enforcement. No one likes getting a ticket.

Sep 2, 2014, 2:01:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Littering abounds and it'd be nice if this initiative could help out. Aside from H&8 intersection, over at the Starburst Plaza...it totally amazes me, that plaza has more trash cans in one space than maybe any place else I've noticed, yet the plaza is littered with so much debris on the ground.

Sep 2, 2014, 2:13:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like the noise the McDonalds bag makes when I throw it out of my car window.

Sep 2, 2014, 2:50:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

if this is the first attempt at giving law enforcement some tools to enforce existing laws, i'd say that DC has been pretty clean without such enforcement.

this neighborhood is dirtier than other DC neighborhoods as there are a lot of idiots here.

the fine is a win for the city. this shouldn't be too difficult even for our cops to enforce

Sep 2, 2014, 3:35:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chicken bones and tumbleweaves can be found all over the sidewalk on H ST.

Sep 2, 2014, 5:16:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Empowering police to ticket is not the answer. The problem is cultural--there's a milieu for whom dropping their Styrofoam containers where they finish eating is the norm. The solution is gentrification-get people in who think trashing your own neighborhood is not good.


Sep 3, 2014, 12:31:00 PM

Anonymous rhinestone cowboy said...

"The solution is gentrification-get people in who think trashing your own neighborhood is not good."

"Gentrification" can't prevent people from walking or driving into any neighborhood they want and littering when they want. Ticketing provides a disincentive to do so.

ps: People rich enough to buy a 700K house also litter. It's not an economic thing.

Sep 3, 2014, 3:29:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

rhinestone cowboy: Pretty sure the people that are buying $700,00 homes in the area aren't the ones hanging outside of liquor stores on H St. all day while we're at work. Hairweaves and chicken bones thrown on the ground. It's definitely a certain segment of the population. (I realize its not politically correct, but lets be honest.)

Sep 3, 2014, 6:14:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

12:42 ideas are good. that's the point of the penalty: penalize.

i also hope when the cops enforce it, that they issue a violation for every piece of litter someone throws down. so let's say someone throws down a chicken bone and a weave of hair, that is 2 violations

if i see police not enforcing the anti-littering laws, i'll whip out my phone and take pics of the cop and litter

Sep 4, 2014, 6:50:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

While I'm the same anon who commented on the police (wrongly) telling me there was nothing they could do, I do think that we, as a community, can "get a jump" on the issue and try to take a high(er) road.

Last year, I was out walking my dog when two young teens (13, 14-ish) walked by with snacks from the local 7-11. One of them finished their snack, and the second knocked the container out of his hand, telling him that he should just throw it down since he was done. The first teen picked it back up and said something to the effect of "man, you have no respect, we don't have to litter." I yelled out to him that I appreciated his not littering, and he - and his friend - was welcome to go toss his trash in our cans right up the alley (we're on the corner), both this time and any other time it came down to a choice between throw it on the street or use our cans (it was going to end up there anyway, since I pick up litter while walking my dog). He gladly ran the few steps up the alley and tossed his wrappers into our can, thanking me.

Another time I was walking my dog by a house occupied by a nice-enough guy who I had exchanged pleasantries with. My dog darted for his tree lawn, and I pulled him back just before he snagged a chicken bone. Guy was out on his porch and was all "oh, yeah, I threw some chicken bones out there. He'll LOVE those!" I took the opportunity to tell him that cooked chicken bones are actually extremely dangerous for dogs, and he could die in all manner of unpleasant ways from consuming them (I spared no details of the options from a blocked windpipe to a severed intestinal tract to intestinal blockage, going for shock value), so I'd appreciate if he'd warn me AHEAD of time when he does that again. He went pale and said "wow! I'll NEVER do that again! I had no idea it was so dangerous, and I didn't mean to hurt your dog!" I told him that he hadn't gotten any, so we were fine on this pass, and they were gone by the time we came back through. Never had another problem!

I know some people get butthurt if people use their private trash cans and/or are afraid to say something, but I'd honestly rather have the "owner" of the trash toss it in there than pick it up all gross off the street and deposit it, well, in exactly the same place, or have that uncomfortable conversation before bad things happen. Maybe they'll respond, maybe they won't, but I've had some good experiences just having the conversation and giving a little (in using our cans...trash would probably end up there anyway).

Sep 5, 2014, 12:12:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

While I appreciate the new interest by the police, I don't think enforcement alone will solve the problem. What is required is more cleaning of the areas around the high traffic/high trash areas. The police can't be on the street all day but having a crew pick up trash after the morning and afternoon rush will eliminate 80% of the problem.

Sep 5, 2014, 5:42:00 PM

Blogger pat said...

Litter control is a multi pronged problem.

In the public areas, like H st, you need lots of trash cans and recycling cans..

You need the police or BID issuing tickets on these

Then you need active cleanup efforts. Have people serving community service pick up trash.

finally you need education. It's a cultural thing,
in India they have massive problems with litter, and the only place it's under control is the rail stations, where people pride themselves on how clean they are.

Billboards, ads, PSAs and the citizenry reinforcing the message.

Sep 7, 2014, 1:59:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

If everyone would take the time t o pick up the litter in front of their homes, much of the trash off of H street would be eliminated. Just because we did not throw it down, does not mean we cant pick it up. Over the past four years, we have seen a VERY pronounced decrease in litter just on our block since several neighbors got fed up and started collectively policing the sidewalks and gutters every couple of days or so. and it seems that there is less litter on the blocks that are cleaned up. Perhaps the broken window effect is in play? the corner across the street invites all sorts of litter because those residents do not participate. And so it seems that the area in front of their home is consistently covered in litter.

Sep 7, 2014, 6:13:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

on the residential streets near H there is very little trash on the ground compared to H

Sep 8, 2014, 9:35:00 AM


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