| Story by Meghan McMahon |
The Forest Preserve District has declared litter Public Enemy No. 1, and for good reason. Litter is polluting and damaging our ecosystems and creating unnecessary hazards for both humans and wildlife.
And don’t forget: It’s against the law. As it is everywhere, littering is illegal in the forest preserves. The minimum littering fine in the forest preserves is $25, but offenders can be issued a $225 citation with a mandatory court date, said Forest Preserve Deputy Police Chief Dave Barrios.
He said the decision between a $25 citation, the $225 citation or even a verbal or written warning depends on the severity of littering. In cases where an officer sees someone litter, they may issue a warning and also direct the offender to properly dispose of the litter. With larger complaints, such as cases of fly dumping when operations crews have to be dispatched to remove and dispose of items, a $225 citation would be issued, Barrios said. In those instances, offenders will also have to pay the District restitution for the time and equipment used to clean up their mess.
All litter is unsightly and contributes to a frustrating problem caused in most cases by people’s irresponsibility. However, some kinds of litter aren’t just an aesthetically displeasing. They pose serious risks to our habitats and the plants and animals that inhabit them. Here’s a closer look at the types of litter that are polluting our environment.