Photo Courtesy of DSNY
The bills address littering and illegal dumping in the city.
By Forum Staff
The City Council recently voted in favor of a package of bills dedicated to enforcing a cleaner Big Apple.
Introduction 656-A would raise the criminal penalties for unlawful commercial dumping. It also raises the civil penalties for unlawful dumping to $4,000 for a first violation (up from $1,500), to $9,000 for a second violation in an 18-month period (up from $5,000), and to $18,000 for a third or subsequent violation in an 18-month period (up from $10,000). The bill also sets the criminal fines at $4,000 for a first violation and $9,000 for a second violation.
“Unlawful dumping and the improper use of public litter baskets are two nagging quality-of-life issues that have been especially troublesome for my Southeast Queens constituents,” said Councilman I. Daneek Miller (D-St. Albans), the measure’s sponsor. “Mounds of waste are routinely left on our streets and sidewalks to fester, attracting vermin and causing even more dumping. As a key component of this body’s Rat Mitigation Package, Introduction 656 will stiffen the current penalties for these offenses and close loopholes exploited in the past to avoid enforcement efforts, sending a clear message that there will be steep consequences for those who dump their garbage wherever they please, as well as encourage our neighbors to be accountable for the cleanliness of our community.”
Introduction 851 would mandate that the Department of Sanitation create a plan for increasing enforcement against littering from vehicles in areas where such littering has been shown to be an issue.
Introduction 655-A would enhance Sanitation’s ability to enforce prohibitions on unauthorized dumping by allowing it to use identifying information found among unlawfully dumped materials as evidence of the identity of the person doing the dumping.
Introduction 850-A would increase the civil penalties for littering from a vehicle to $200 for a first violation (up from $100), $350 for a second violation in a 12-month period (up from $250), and $450 for a third or subsequent violation in a 12-month period (up from $350).
And Intro. 203-B would raise the penalties for public littering for the second violation within a 12 month period to $300 (up from $250) and the third violation within a 12 month period to $400 (up from $350). The bill would not change the penalty for a first violation ($75).
“Litter and garbage in our streets and sidewalks, our parks and our public spaces is not just an aesthetic problem – it damages our environment, hurts local businesses, drains our financial resources and erodes our quality of life. It is a multifaceted problem that requires a multifaceted response. That is why I helped create the NYC Cleanup initiative when I entered the Council four years ago, to tackle this problem head on. And it is the impetus behind this package of legislation I introduced, and we are passing today,” said Councilman Steven Matteo (R-Staten Island), who sponsored Intros. 203-B, 655-A, 850-A, and 851. “These bills will help us create better enforcement strategies to tackle ‘littering hotspots;’ increase fines to deter persistent litter offenders; specifically address those litterjerks who toss garbage from their cars; and provide Sanitation with the tools it needs to really tackle illegal dumping.”