Littering ordinance proposal supported by Emanuel includes $1,500 maximum fine

August 5, 2013 3:13:10 PM PDT
A Chicago alderman who wants to stiffen penalties for littering on city streets is getting support from Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Ald. Howard Brookins of Chicago's 21st Ward is sponsoring the proposed ordinance in an attempt to put an end to littering. Under the proposal, the current minimum fine of $50 would be replaced by a $150 minimum fine. Also, drivers caught littering from their car windows could face a fine of up to $1,500 and have their vehicles impounded.

Alderman Brookins says he wants to bring attention to the people who constantly litter city streets and sidewalk, and he wants something formal on paper that would make littering punishable.

"When you look through the communities, people generally determine if a community is safe, if it is a good neighborhood, etc. just by seeing trash and litter. Those who come through the communities automatically dismiss certain areas, saying [they're] bad, because there's so much trash thrown around," Brookins said.

Currently, many residential block groups and community leaders spend time picking up trash in their neighborhoods.

"Most folks don't think [anything] about going to a fast food and throwing it out on the street, but you don't have servants. You have to take care of your own place and where you are," Chicago resident Ethel Hunter.

"I want them to stop the behavior. I want people to be able to feel good about their communities and neighborhoods and not have to look at all of this trash and litter," said Brookins.

In a statement, Mayor Emanuel wrote:

"No street in this city should be treated like a personal trash can, and it is our responsibility as residents and fellow neighbors to roll up our sleeves and work together to make sure that our city is clean and remains a place we are all proud to call home."

The littering ordinance will be introduced at the next committee meeting before heading to the full Chicago City Council.


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