Lake Martin Resource Association’s John Thompson hopes new teeth added to the state’s criminal littering law helps prevent trash being thrown out on the waterways and roadways of Alabama.
“We have always had an anti-littering law,” Thompson said. “It has always been on the books. There was just not much penalty with it so it never got any attention.”
The new provisions in the anti-litter bill were passed late in the legislative session. The bill now makes criminal littering a Class B misdemeanor rather than Class C, doubles the fine to $500 for the first offense and increases subsequent fines up to $3,000 or 100 hours of community service, returns some of the fines to local municipalities for enforcement and to educate the public about litter; adds plastics, cigarettes, cigars, containers of urine, food containers and tires to the list of things considered litter; and expands protection against littering into all rivers, lakes and territorial waters.
Thompson hopes the new fines and penalties will make it easier to prosecute those who litter and adds a deterrent.
“Hopefully this bill takes care of several things,” Thompson said. “It better defines what littering is and increases fines but most importantly it returns portions of the fines back to the communities for enforcement and education.”
Thompson believes state leaders are seeing the need for adding more teeth to the anti-littering bill.
“I think the legislature is seeing we have a problem with littering in Alabama,” Thompson said.
Thompson hopes the new provisions in the law help curb littering but wants others to get involved in cleanups.
“The more people we have getting involved is great,” Thompson said. “Not only do they help clean up our roadways but they learn the importance of not letting it get there to begin with.”