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LA Eyes Stiffer Penalties For Discarding Used Masks, Gloves In Public

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) - City officials want to know what their options are when it comes to stepping up enforcement of littering laws as more masks and gloves possibly contaminated with COVID-19 are being discarded out in public.

The Los Angeles City Council Tuesday directed the Bureau of Sanitation and City Attorney's Office to explore possible steps ways to discourage people from littering personal protective equipment (PPE) in grocery store parking lots, park walking paths and sidewalks,

California state law sets a maximum $1,000 fine for the first littering conviction, $1,500 for the second and $3,000 for the third and subsequent violations, according to a report from the Bureau of Sanitation.

The city's maximum penalty is currently $1,000 and/or six months in jail.

The bureau wants more resources from the City Council to monitor the collection of discarded PPE and to increase enforcement staff for all applicable environmental laws.

In April, Councilmen Bob Blumenfield and Mitch O'Farrell filed a motion acknowledging concern from residents about littered PPE.

"Anytime you throw any piece of trash on the ground, much less something that's possibly contaminated, just realize the level of disrespect that is for others in the general public," O'Farrell said. "I would hope that this is an opportunity for us as Angelenos to show and demonstrate the importance of keeping our neighborhoods cleaner in general."

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