Leave out the litter

The state of Illinois passed many new laws impacting all age groups which went into affect at the beginning of January.  Many of the laws are more popular and well known, such as the tanning law that prohibits teens under eighteen from tanning, or how you can’t talk on your phone anymore while driving without using a wireless device such as Bluetooth.  One of the more well known laws that was updated was the Litter Control Act, which prohibits anyone from littering anywhere within the state. The act was was edited to including throwing cigarette butts out of cars while driving as an act of littering.

When asked about the new updated law and if she was aware that the law even existed, Katelynn Shennet (11) replied that she wasn’t aware of the Litter Control Act.  “Littering isn’t a major problem because there doesn’t seem to be a lot of it.  There’s some on the highway but not as much as other places.”

Victoria Smith (11) agreed though when asked if Illinois had lots of garbage lying around.  She said, “There’s always lots of plastic bags, or trash blowing in the wind or on the road sides.”  When consulted about whether the Litter Control Act should help keep the environment cleaner, she replied with a yes.

The law is certainly not messing around with litterers either.  With consequences including fines that start at $50 and go up with each offense, littering is not something that the officials take lightly.  Ranging from leaving grass clippings in the wrong area to abandoning a car, the act covers littering in all forms, even for things that would seem to be common sense to not leave lying around.

Now, the law is focusing more on cars and vehicles, and what people can do to keep the environment cleaner.  The act prohibits from tossing anything out the window, even biodegradable items.

For example, if caught tossing a cigarette butt outside the driver’s vehicle, up to the third offense, the offender can receive up to three years of jail time and about $25,000 in fines.  Cormac McCarthy (11) commented, “Jail time is a little harsh.” He too believed that litter isn’t really an issue in Illinois.  Since the Act has been active since 1974, maybe it’s doing it is doing it’s job to keep the land cleaner.

This law doesn’t only affect the public, but affects property owners and businesses too.  To get everyone involved in keeping the communities and towns in Illinois tidy, owners are required to keep trash receptacles on their land.  After a ten-day warning, trash bins can either be put onto the property, or else suffer consequences of $25 fines.  These fines keep adding up everyday until the requirements are fulfilled.

By putting these consequences in place, it not only helps keep nature in a more pristine condition, but aids in getting people to understand the importance of keeping the world that we live in clean.