City to give penalties if lawns are not litter-free beginning mid-April
Over the winter, litter collected on sidewalks and neighborhood lawns was covered by snowfall until recent warm temperatures revealed the rubbish and left it free to drift about the city.
While city workers tend to the litter downtown, students will incur warnings and citations if they fail to maintain their properties, whether the garbage is theirs or not.
Eldon Evans, East Lansing Police Department supervisor, said strict litter enforcement will likely begin in mid-April, when students and property owners have had a chance to clean up after the snow has fully melted and stopped falling.
Marketing senior Meredith Assaly said many students are waiting until the last trace of winter is gone before they pick up their yards.
“There’s 50,000 students that go here, so having garbage on the ground is inevitable,” Assaly said. “A lot of people have the mentality that, ‘Oh, it’s just going to snow again, so we may as well wait.’ It’s harder to control (litter) off campus because it’s our responsibility.”
With a harsher winter this year, record snowfall and frigid temperatures, little relief was given to the downtown maintenance workers attempting to get ahead on the garbage, said Catherine DeShambo, East Lansing environmental services administrator.
“This year was a little more difficult than previous years,” DeShambo said.
“Other years we were able to get to the litter earlier because the snow melted throughout the year,” she said.
Until the gutters are cleared of snow and ice, city workers are unable to use street sweepers and blowers, which are more efficient additions to the brooms and dust pans they currently wield.
Some students are frustrated that there’s so much litter in the first place — like human biology junior Zachary Woodward.
He said throwing waste onto the ground rather than the trash can is a decision that stems from laziness.
“It doesn’t really affect my life, but I feel like the laziness of throwing trash on the ground is ridiculous,” Woodward said.
“If you can’t take the time to throw something away, how are you walking to class?” he said.