If you litter in Waterbury, you can expect your wallet to be lightened by $219. That’s the message from Waterbury Police Chief Michael Gugliotti, who announced a summer long police initiative to crack down on litterbugs in the Brass City. “Through this initiative,” Gugliotti said,  “we intend to educate the public of the litter problem here in Waterbury while also taking enforcement action against litter violators.”

   Gugliotti stated that he’s attended community meetings recently and the anti litter message is loud and clear. “Frankly, the citizens are sick of it.  Littering and illegal dumping affects community pride, safety and the overall health of our community.  And litterbugs are going to get this message, one way or another.”

   Lieutenant Scott Stevenson, Commander of the police department’s Community Relations Division, stated that cigarette litter, including butts, wrappers and packets, accounts for a large percentage of litter citywide. “People may be surprised to know that cigarette butts are considered litter. And the biggest myth is that cigarette butts are harmless because they’re biodegradable,” saids Stevenson. “They’re actually a form of plastic that take years to decompose and are harmful to the environment.”     

   Stevenson also cautioned drivers that they are responsible for litter thrown from their vehicles. “The State Littering statute is clear; if litter is thrown from a car, the driver owns it.”  The current fine for littering is a $219 infraction ticket. The fine jumps to $319 if the littering occurs in a City park, including on the Green. “Our goal isn’t to see how many litter tickets we can write,” said Stevenson. “Our goal is to bring the litter problem to the public’s attention and gain their voluntary compliance in obeying litter laws.”