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ACPD to Participate in ‘Litter Enforcement Month’

by ARLnow.com March 28, 2012 at 10:00 am 3,087 55 Comments

The Arlington County Police Department will participate in the D.C. region’s second annual Litter Enforcement Month in April.

Police will actively enforce litter and illegal dumping laws during the month. The goal, according to an ACPD press release, is to “raise awareness of litter, illegal dumping and related crimes; the laws associated with them, and their social and environmental effects on our communities, our economy and the Potomac River.”

Litter Enforcement Month coincides with the 24th annual Potomac River Watershed Cleanup.

“Preventing trash pollution in the Potomac starts by enforcing litter and illegal dumping laws in our neighborhoods,” ACPD Sergeant John Ravinskas said in a statement.

Police encourage anybody wishing to report illegal dumping to call the ACPD non-emergency line at 703-558-2222.

  • JamesE

    Patrol in front of the Ballston 7-11 and they would probably hand out 500,000 tickets this month.

    • Ali

      I think that’s the case for almost any 7-11 anywhere.

      • OldTimer


        • G Clifford Prout

          Can someone get their hands on the “proactivity expectations” memo for this crackdown? Will it decrease the number of their “proactivity expectations” for traffic?

  • drax

    There’s a Donaldson Run joke in here somewhere.

  • Clarendon

    A lot of the trash that ends up on the sidewalk and my house I think comes from either open dumpsters or flies out of dumpsters and trash barrels when they are being emptied into the trucks. Also, a leading cause of trash (although shouldn’t be an excuse) is the lack of public trash cans in heavy traffic areas.

    • SomeGuy

      I always put my trash in an appropriate receptacle, but I can imagine being more inclined to litter than to touch the disgusting handles on those Big Belly® trash cans that are placed around Rosslyn.

      Yet those trash cans allow RosslynBID, and thus the county, to tout how “green” they are regardless of whether anyone uses them.

      • Bandersnatch

        Wow- so carry some hand sanitizer.

        Those cans actually ARE green and dramatically reduce the need for and cost of static trash scheduling. Taxpayer win.

        • SomeGuy

          I’m sure that trash pickup schedules are reduced, in part because the cans are less frequently used.

          But it’s not clear which part of my comment made you say “wow.” Was it the very first clause where I affirmed that I don’t litter?

          • jackson

            “I can imagine being more inclined to litter than to touch the disgusting handles on those Big Belly® trash cans that are placed around Rosslyn” caused the “wow,” if I had to guess.

          • SomeGuy

            Okay. So “wow” was for by my ability to imagine plausible motives of disrespectful people. Cool.

          • dirty biker

            I’d guess that he was imagining how debilitating it must be to be you (washes hands).

            I actually spent 18.5 seconds looking for data on whether the cans are underused because they are unsanitary- I found was this ranting blog post from an admitted “hypochondriac” (more likely OCD…) and a Philly.com article that cites the OCD blog but nothing remotely data driven (turns out that the PHL contract is being mismanaged… go figure, a trash contract in the northeast not being well managed or transparent)


            Maybe I’m in the minority here but it doesn’t bother me at all… too much time in the hinterlands of India, China and Latin America to get worked up over the bacteria count on a stainless steel handle. Don’t chew your nails. Wash your hands before you eat. The world is a dirty place. Want to do a fun experiment? Take a culture from that metal handle (exposed to UV and cold temps) and compare it to a culture from your own mouth… winner? Your mouth in a landslide.

  • John K.

    So, we’ll see them on the Pike and the trails by the Four Mile Run bridge then, yes? $$

    • Jason S.

      I seriously doubt they’ll do that, too much risk of being accused of profiling.

      • ArlingtonSouth


        However, there has been many an evening or early weekend morning run where I find contractors of a certain background using Four Mile Run Creek as the place for washing equipment and dumping construction materials.

        Also – anything along Columbia Pike, Dinwiddie Street, Four Mile Run could be better watched in this regard. Litter everywhere. It’s normally in places that are hot spots for rampant loitering.

        • waterboy

          Call 911 when you see that happening. It’s more than littering, it’s illegal dumping into a stream. If necessary, a hazmat team will be dispatched too.

          • WeiQiang

            Seriously, I used to get a lot of hazmat texts about 4MR.

            Agree that any contractor of any background should be reported [and recorded/photo’d if you have the phone and the inclination].

            A little ownership of one’s community goes a long way. I’ve called taxi and pizza delivery companies when their employees blow through stop signs in my neighborhood. Both types of companies have been very appreciative and the driving habits have changed noticeably.

  • DSS10

    Quota activity.

  • j

    Shouldn’t they be “actively enforcing” all laws?

    • Ballstonian

      I would hope so.

      Also, are there people out there who are not mentally challenged who don’t know that littering is “bad”? I think most people litter because they feel like it, not because they think its fine. It just seems that its not the kind of issue/law that needs an “awareness” campaign.

      • FunReadArlNow

        Keep reading further below for generalizations about who litters and what they’re thinking….

        My take: awareness and enforcement are sorely lacking and are definitely needed. I don’t care what you feel like doing, don’t litter, it isn’t an okay thing to do, it isn’t acceptable. It’s especially baffling to me to see piles of litter along 4MR bike trail (or anywhere) within sight of a trashcan — c’mon litterbug, I’ll let it slide that you were drinking beer on the trail (probably after dark, that’s another thing I’ll let slide), the least you can do is put your empties in the trashcan.

  • Quoth the Raven

    Hopefully they can catch a ton of those db smokers who think trash cans or ashtrays aren’t acceptable, and who dump their butts on the ground (or out the window of their cars).

    • CourthouseGal

      Absolutely! Ticket the smokers! I hate seeing cigarette butts all over the place and smokers are so nonchalant about tossing them on the ground. Time for a lesson in the form of a ticket.

      • LP


        Couldn’t agree more!

        • D’oh

          Yes! When I’ve said something to smokers, they look at me like I’m crazy. Butts are trash but they don’t seem to think so.

          • Bandersnatch

            On my bike I’ve been known to pick them up (especially if they are still lit) and hand them back to drivers with a cheerful “hey you dropped this…”

          • drax

            Well, there is one justification for throwing them on the ground in some circumstances – to prevent fires in trashcans.

          • R. Griffon

            All they need to do is simply roll the thing between their fingers so that the last bit of tobacco falls out. Then throw the paper and filter into the trash. Problem solved.

            I doubt few (if any) would have a problem with trace amounts of shredded tobacco on the ground.

          • zzzzz

            There are ashtrays next to all the doors to the building where I work, and the smokers hang out next to them, and then they throw the butts on the ground.

          • WeiQiang

            I thought of doing this to drivers who do this, but I’m so angry when they do this that I might be a little to aggressive and douse the lit cigarette on their leather upholstery and get run over or shot.

            What reaction do you get?

          • WeiQiang

            “doing this to drivers who do this” … from the Dept of Redundancy Dept.

          • Ballstonian

            That may be awkwardly written, but its not redundant. The writer is doing “this” to drivers who are doing “that.”

          • Jason S.

            My wife was mortified when some moron in Maryland throw a cigarette butt out his window (still lit) and hit my car so I spit my gum onto his windshield.

          • Bandersnatch

            Varied. Usually they are so dumbstruck that I get nothing but a stare. Now and again I get a f-you or incoherent rage

            Probably not doing any favors to the cyclist/driver equilibrium

      • drax


    • R. Griffon

      This was my very first thought thought when I saw the headline. Smokers throw their disgusting butts wherever they happen to be standing (or sitting) when they finish. I have NEVER seen a cruiser cite someone who throws their cigarette out the window at an intersection. Their punishment should be a fine and 8 hrs community service wearing an orange vest picking up those very same butts from our streets.

      And of course since we don’t have any community policing (on foot or bike), citing people who congregate outside buildings is out of the question. How many tickets do you think they could write just walking up and down the strip in Clarendon on a Friday or Saturday night? Double points for doing it in plain clothes.

  • ArlResident

    The term police, as used in the military, means to clean up. Hence when I read the title, I was under the impression that the police would actually be pitching in to help clean up Arlington. As a proud resident, I am continually picking up trash and placing it in a nearby trash can.

    This would certainly bolster the image of the Arlington police in light of their bad publicity with the quotas. Or is this yet another revenue generation ploy that will be used to offset loss of $$$ due to having to reduce the quota-seeking behavior?

    • Ren

      “George: Cops, I don’t even care about cops, I wanna see garbage men, it’s much more important, all I wanna see is garbage trucks, garbage cans and garbage men, your never gonna stop crime, we should at least be clean.

      Jerry: I’ll tell you what they should do, they should combine the two jobs, make it one job, make it cop/garbage man, I always see a cop walking around with nothing to do, grab a broom, start sweeping, you sweep, sweep, sweep, sweep, catch a criminal get right back to sweeping.”

  • Jameson

    Go to some Latin countries (My wife is from Bolivia), and you will see how they treat trash. It is all over the place compared to here, even on the beaches. People just throw trash like bottles or wrappers wherever they like.

    • Quoth the Raven

      Not just Latin countries — much of Europe is exactly the same way. Seems like they’re a bit behind us in the whole “littering is bad” thing.

      • JamesE
      • Josh S

        Africa as well. Any ravine, pit, hole in the ground, etc is presumed to be suitable for dumping trash.

        • jackson

          At least many countries in Africa have the excuse that they can’t afford basic sanitation.

      • Car-Free Diet

        Hey wait a minute, Europeans are much more advanced then America. They don’t have the gun violence we have, they hardly spend any money on their militaries and yet they live in peace. Most important of all, they have national health care and the USA does not yet (and depending on the decisions of two judges) may not.

        So if the Europeans litter there is a good reason for it that ignorent Americans are not aware of.

    • awh hells bells

      I’ve noticed that a great deal of rubbish accumulates post pick-up soccer games on county playing fields in which the participants are mainly adults. I’ll occasionally run the track at the TJ Community Center which has benefitted from county funded improvements to playing fields and more trashcans along field sidelines but on any given day there’s a few handfuls of trash to pickup within a 100 yds of a receptacle. There’s always to using generalities but there’s a correlation between certain cultural groups having a nonchalant attitude towards littering.

      • awh hells bells

        “always *flaws to using generalities…”

      • WeiQiang

        There may be a correlation to cultural populations who haven’t assimilated the value of picking up after oneself, but we can avoid the argument altogether if we posit the issue as one of community norms and values and not try to divine whether a cultural value is the cause.

        Focus on the expected outcome and I’ll think we’ll be better off. Personally, I’m going to run on a PUPPY [Pick Up Pooches’ Poop, You!] platform in the next election cycle.

        • PUP

          i approve of this message.

      • Car-Free Diet

        typical bigot.

      • Set the controls

        Well, end-of-game, and sometimes half-time snacks/drinks (why?) for kids’ soccer games put a lot of litter on the ground, especially the straw wrappers from the juice boxes. Kids should be put on litter detail at school to learn the habit of picking up after oneself.

    • Set the controls

      In east Africa there is practically no trash (that I saw). People burn it in smoldering fires everywhere or kids pick it up and tie it up with string to make a soccer ball, like a tape or tin foil ball. No packaging=no trash.

  • Gary

    Hopefully they look for people throwing away their McTrash from the McD’s on Lee Highway (near Heidelberg). It can be found everywhere within a quarter-mile radius.

  • Alex

    I hope they do some litter enforcement in the parks. The Glen Carlyn park gets trashed quite a bit.

    • Yup

      Bon Air Park too. Tons of litter.

      BTW, anyone know why ACPD asks your name and phone number when you call to report something like this?

      • cranky crankypants

        It’s to make sure you are not being a jerk looking for revenge or being a generalized nuisance. Imagine an embittered former spouse wanting to rub some salt and you can see why it’s a good idea to make sure nobody is abusing public resources.


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