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Councilman Wants To Crack Down On People Who Toss Litter From Cars

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Proposed new littler laws may have you thinking twice before tossing trash from a moving car, because you will pay more if you get caught.

As CBS2's Andrea Grymes reported, from a pile of junk off the Cross Island Parkway, to paper bags and plates off the Grand Central, to random garbage along South Avenue on Staten Island – it's nearly impossible not to notice trash on the side of the road.

"Yeah, a lot, it's disgusting," one woman said.

Grymes drove all over the city Friday. While many stretches of road and highway were clear, others definitely were not.

"A lot of times a lot of the debris got wrapped around my axle and caused me to have malfunctions on my car," said Austin Sinclair, of Staten Island.

"You see it everywhere, and it's extremely, extremely frustrating," City Councilman Steve Matteo said.

The councilman says it's no longer enough to organize cleanups. So he's introduced a package of bills to crack down on littering.

One of them increases the fines for people who toss garbage from moving cars. The first violation would go from $100 to $200, the second from $250 to $350, and the third from $350 to $450.

"I don't understand why we want to do this to our own neighborhoods. So we're going to keep going at this at every angle we can," said Matteo.

Another bill would require the Department of Sanitation to come up with a plan to increase enforcement.

"I don't think it's right to throw your trash out of the car," one woman said.

"I agree, quality of life, I think we should penalize them," said Sinclair.

Depending on where you drive, either the sanitation department or transportation department is responsible for trash cleanup.

A sanitation spokesperson said the department supports the legislation but cautioned enforcement is difficult. In addition to sweeping city streets, it also helps the transportation department with cleaning highway exit ramps.

A transportation spokesperson said the department is on top of it and on pace to remove even more debris this year compared to last.

Councilman Matteo expects his package of bills to pass the full City Council in the next two weeks.

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