But, so you can help spread the message to the ones who do, let's recap Louisiana's litter laws!
Earlier this year, Governor Jindal signed a bill that includes cigarette butts in the official state litter roster. Why it wasn't included before is beyond me, since they are, by far, the worst litter offenders. But that's water under the bridge; at least it's included now!
So what does that mean for littering smokers? You can get fined for tossing butts out of your car, onto the sidewalk, or any public place that isn't a trashcan. Use a cigarette outpost or a trashcan.
What does that mean for the observant citizens who see someone littering butts (heh, butt littering)? You get to be the vigilantes to report the offense! Consider it your public service.
How do you report cigarette butt littering, or ANY public littering (fast food trash, cans, cups, paper, etc.) for that matter? Use the Louisiana State Litter Hotline: 1-888-LITRBUG // 1-888-548-7284, now run by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. I believe you then report when and where the offense occurred and a license plate number, if applicable.
Courtesy of NOLA.com, the fines for cigarette butt littering are:
- First offense carries a $300 fine and eight hours of community service in a litter cleanup program.
- Second offense will cost $700 and require 16 hours of litter abatement/cleanup work.
- Third offense violators could give up their driver’s licenses for a year, pay a $1,500 fine and have to perform 80 hours of litter abatement/cleanup.
- Litter costs Louisiana taxpayers $40 million annually.
- Litter takes time to biodegrade/break down.
- An orange peel takes six months, a plastic bag takes 10-20 years and paper 2-5 months.
- Cigarette butts are dangerous to wildlife and have been found in the stomachs of cats, dogs, birds and squirrels.
- The four most common litter items in Louisiana are cigarettes, fast-food packaging and candy/snack packaging and beverage containers.
- Litter is a health risk to you and your pet as it attracts rodents, vermin and germs.
- Louisiana taxpayers pick up the bill to collect and dispose of litter, to enforce litter laws, to adjudicate litter violations, and to conduct anti-litter public information and education programs.
- Litter has indirect economic cost including real estate devaluation, loss of new industry and business, and loss of tourism and ecotourism, especially in the state that lays claim to being “Sportsman’s Paradise.”