Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Great Moments in Preventing Littering

MARC FISHER, WAHSINGTON POST - Andy Chasin's story begins at home, in Woodley Park, with Mom. Or at least a package from Mom, sent in March, with love, from Arizona, via Fedex. The package stayed at home, but somehow the air bill, the sheet of paper that contains Chasin's address, wound up in his pocket, where he discovered it earlier this month while walking on Connecticut Avenue NW. Having no need for the slip, Chasin tossed it into the trash can on the corner. This would be the crime scene.

Last Friday, Chasin, 28, was in his office at the law firm of Baker & Hostetler, when he received from the District government a Notice of Violation, delivered at a cost of $4.42. The city's Department of Public Works charges Chasin with Improper Use of Public Litter Receptacles. Fine: $35.

The notice is signed by Cecil Herd, Solid Waste Inspector. Attached to the notice is the evidence: the Fedex bill. . .

"Folks hate to be caught doing something that maybe they weren't supposed to do." That's Mary Myers, spokeswoman for the city's Department of Public Works. "I understand he's frustrated. But we have an enormous problem of overflowing litter cans due to people putting their home or business trash in the public litter cans."

But Mary, a single sheet of paper?

"Doesn't matter," she says. "The purpose of public litter cans is for simple pedestrian trash -- cups, food wrappers, a gum wrapper, the kind of thing you would have in your pocket."


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