City leaders ‘fully committed’ to anti-litter campaign

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 29, 2001

Staff Writer

Municipal Court Judge Nick Cervera and Troy Mayor Jimmy

Lunsford have every intention of making Troy an exception in the state of Alabama when it comes to enforcing anti-litter laws.

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According to news reports, about 13 of the state’s 67 counties had no littering case go to court this past fiscal year. Only 121 traffic littering and 303 cases of operating or using an illegal dump were recorded throughout the state.

Here in Troy, the cause of catching litterbugs "is definitely not a ded issue," Lunsford said.

In August, city leaders kicked off a plan to rid the streets of litter that will include putting individuals, who choose to toss trash, in an orange vest while picking up litter.

The idea of having litterbugs pick up trash is nothing new.

As a matter of fact, during a recent trip to New York, Lunsford discovered people there pick up litter during the middle of the afternoon. Those crews on the roadside hold up traffic, bringing both awareness of the problem and a little inconvenience to deter others to think before throwing out that hamburger wrapper.

"It’s very disturbing to me," Cervera said, adding visitors’ first impressions are Troy is a "dirty, filthy, unkempt" city.

He is one who is "fully committed" to the city’s anti-litter campaign.

Lunsford also wants to establish a committee of concerned citizens and representatives of different organizations, the schools and Troy State University, which will come up with ideas to clean up the city’s streets.

One of the mayor’s ideas is offering rewards taken from the fines of those imposed upon conviction.

Cervera said if the court finds an individual guilty that person will be punished. The municipal judge believes the most effective form of punishment and enforcement is community service.

That community service will include wearing a bright orange "I littered on Troy" vest while picking up litter around town.

But, making a litter case is not easy.

"It is absolutely difficult for the black and white uniformed officers to make a case on litter," Lunsford said.

That’s where the public’s input will help.

"There’s nothing wrong with private citizens making a case," Cervera said.

Any individual who sees someone littering can file an incident report with the Troy Police Department. That person will then have to give a signed deposition before an arrest warrant can be issued.

Lunsford acknowledges picking up the litter "is not the solution;" rather the solution is to prevent people from throwing it out in the first place.