2007_08_garbage2.jpgIf you've ever tossed your junk mail into a sidewalk trash can, you better think again. The City Council is expected to approve a bill doubling fines for "illegal dumping" - and sanitation officials will be allowed to fine people if "identifying information" is found.

So, if you dump a catalog and other junk into the trash, you could be be fined $100-300 for the first violation, $250-500 for the second violation, and $350-400 for a third violation! And if you didn't illegally dump the items, you would still have to explain why it wasn't you. But if sanitation officials start trying to tape up torn up mail to figure out who threw it away... Our guess is that they'll crack down on people who dump bags of garbage in the corner trash can, versus a stray piece of mail.

The Post notes that a 2005 city study showed that 20% of all trash in public litter baskets were from residential or commercial sources. Queens Community Board 5 district manager Gary Giordano blamed the epidemic on landlords, "it's not a reflection on people behaving badly. Too many tenants live above stores, and the landlord does not give them any place to store their garbage."

The Department of Sanitation gave out over 2500 tickets to illegal dumpers. And last month, the DOS impounded 12 vehicles involved in illegal dumping. Most of the cars were dumping construction debris.

Photograph by Last Nights Garbage on Flickr