Councilman compares litter laws

By Frank Lewis - [email protected]

If you think the proposed litter ordinance in the city of Portsmouth is strict, you should see the wording of Illinois new House Bill 3243 titled the Litter Control Act, which adds the term “cigarette butts” to the current litter definition.

It now reads – “any discarded, used or unconsumed substance or waste. “Litter” may include, but is not limited to, any garbage, trash, refuse, cigarettes, debris, rubbish, grass clippings or other lawn or garden waste, newspaper, magazines, glass, metal, plastic or paper containers or other packaging construction material, abandoned vehicle (as defined in the Illinois Vehicle Code), motor vehicle parts, furniture, oil, carcass of a dead animal, any nauseous or offensive matter of any kind, any object likely to injure any person or create a traffic hazard, potentially infectious medical waste as defined in Section 3.360 of the Environmental Protection Act, or anything else of an unsightly or unsanitary nature, which has been discarded, abandoned or otherwise disposed of improperly.”

When the law goes into effect on Jan. 1, flicking the end of your cigarette out your car window or down onto the sidewalk will be a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of no more than $1,500 and a jail term of no more than six months. Three or more offenses could be punishable by a $25,000 fine.

Section 521.06 of Portsmouth’s charter states that no owner or occupant of abutting lands shall fail to keep the sidewalks, curbs or gutters in repair and free from snow, ice or any nuisance.

In First Ward Councilman Kevin W. Johnson’s proposal, added to that would read in part – “all businesses, campuses, governments and institutions of any kind shall provide at any point of ingress and egress to their business, campus, governmental and institutional entryway or office a trash receptacle designed to deposit or otherwise receive cigarette butts. Such receptacles shall be emptied regularly in a safe manner. Smoke-free campuses are exempt from this section.”

Johnson said it is not his intent to punish anyone, but to make people aware of the problem and enlist their support in bringing that problem under control.

By Frank Lewis

[email protected]