LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The Los Angeles City Council passed an ordinance today to increase illegal-dumping fines up to 300% to address the messes, particularly in the downtown area and construction sites.
The ordinance raises fines on violators prosecuted for illegal dumping to $250 for the first offense, $500 for the second and for three-time and subsequent offenders, $1,000, along with possible misdemeanor citation or six months in jail. The previous fines were sometimes less than three times that amount, Garcetti said.
``This is a crime, let's be clear, whether it is committed by ones who use our public space as a dumpster, businesses that try to skirt the law or those who seek to come in from other cities and use L.A. as a dumping ground,'' Garcetti said.
The ordinance can also fine offenders for cleanup of the illegal dumping in amounts of $500 for the first offense, $750 for the second offense and $1,000 for third and subsequent violations.
Garcetti said 80% of all debris on the city's streets comes from illegal dumping and that 75% of it was linked to businesses. The most illegal dumping -- 41% of all citations in L.A. -- was in the downtown area.
He said the Los Angeles Department of Sanitation and Environment is slated to increase its cleanups from 900 last year to 1,800 in the next year, more surveillance cameras have been installed to catch offenders, and a second enforcement team will investigate nighttime illegal dumping.
``Those of us who play by the rules, who count on our city, are fouled by those who don't think the rules apply to them,'' he said. ``If you do business in L.A., you are, by law, required to have trash-collection services, and if you don't and you commit misdemeanor illegal dumping ... you will be subject to a $1,000 fine or six months in jail.''
This year, LASAN has collected an average of 293 tons of illegally dumped waste per week.
LASAN Director and General Manager Enrique Zaldivar said his department has a fleet of 250 people assigned to cleanups, as the city's CARE and CARE-plus teams were dispatched earlier this month.
This year, the amount of citations issued to people or businesses that illegally dump their waste has doubled from last year to 560. LASAN inspected 650 businesses and found 34% were non-compliant with their trash- collection operations.
``There are many dozens of excuses for why any one person would offend the basic dignity of the community, but every one excuse is completely inexcusable,'' Zaldivar said.
Officials said there isn't a single type of business or industry committing the illegal dumping, although the city has an illegal-dumping heat map to track repeat offenses.