Research and experience have shown that litter is the result of individual behavior. It is an individual choice to litter or to be careless in the handling of waste. Once litter is on the ground, it attracts more litter, begetting a myriad of consequences for both us and for the environment. A clean community, by contrast, actually discourages littering and improves the community appearance and quality of life.
We all have a role to play in the prevention of litter. It takes just one person, one school, one business, one organization to positively impact the behavior of others in their community.
A few pieces of litter along the side of the road may not seem like a crime, but it is. Littered roadways, properties and illegal dumpsites cost the Commonwealth millions of dollars each year in cleanup costs. Aside from the costs associated with cleanup, littering and illegal dumping becomes a blight upon the local community, inhibiting economic development and potentially attracting more crime. This fact sheet will provide information about the tools law enforcement can use to combat this problem.
Litter comes in all shapes and sizes – from a cigarette butt to a tire. it can be found on roadsides, sidewalks, in parks or on private property.
Intentional littering is a behavioral choice based on apathy, lack of social pressure to do the right thing, ignorance of the law and an absence of realistic penalties or consistent enforcement, or it is a social rebellion and a disregard of authority. People who litter represent a variety of social economic backgrounds.
Unintentional littering can result from unsecured vehicle loads and overflowing trash containers and dumpsters. A decision to exercise care can and does prevent this.