Trashing the environment is an atrocity and should not be condoned. There should be a law and there is, but apparently litterers are never caught or the law is simply ignored. One never reads in the newspapers, or hears on the evening news, that so and so went to jail because they threw a paper cup on the sidewalk, urinated on the steps of the parking garage, or that new laws are being created or old ones are being enforced.
Where were others when these offenses were being created? Drivers behind offenders who throw out trash may utter words against such offenses that no one but others in his car can hear, but seldom do they bother to get the license plate. Why? Why bother, who cares? Yet, further on this particular Saturday morning, several people alongside the highway will be picking up trash. It seems that half the population cares about their community roads and highways and the other half do not.
What can be done about littering? Perpetrators can be fined or spend time in jail. That may sound harsh but it is what will send messages that dumping one's trash on public property will not be condoned. This is a state by state concern and each takes care of it in their own way. And, along those lines I read that Oregon is the cleanest state. I read further. The Bulletin reported on April 8, 1977 that a battle - newspaper battle probably - that Washington and Oregon were arguing which was the cleaner state.
Which state won is unclear but for sure the writing and thinking about it inspired many to be better stewards of their environment. At that time, if I remember correctly, new highways were being built and a sense of pride in the environment was at high pitch. What is being done now?
A person caught littering can be fined up to $500 dollars and may have to spend sixty days in jail.
The state of Washington takes littering seriously. In the case of dangerous littering toxic materials, leaving around materials with possibilities of harmful effects, the fines are high. One case posed a penalty of $1025, a lesser offense cost the perpetrator $103 dollars, and in other cases they suggested cleanup to be part of the fine.
It is illegal for haulers of waste to dump anywhere else other than legal landfills. To do so will cost up to $25.000 dollars.
West Virginia: http://www.charlestondailymail.com/News/statehouse/201003140551
Recently (2010 state legislative action calls for the doubling of fines for those caught littering. This is one state that takes this law seriously.