Litterbugs Better Beware In Ocean Springs

50-new signs are going up in very visible places. The city of Ocean Springs is declaring war on litterbugs.

"We're trying to raise public awareness that we're serious about keeping Ocean Springs litter free," said Ocean Springs Mayor Connie Moran. "Anywhere in town, we're asking people to make sure they're aware not to throw litter. We want people to know we're serious. We'll enforce it."

Police Captain Michael Sweeney and his traffic unit are in charge of catching violators in the act.

"All the officers have been advised and it's a zero tolerance," said Captain Sweeney. "Anything they see, including people throwing cigarette butts out of cars. Once caught, they will be cited with a misdemeanor arrest citation, which is punishable up to a $300 fine."

The mayor says city crews need some extra help to clean up the mess.

"The entire community has to be involved," said Mayor Moran. "It takes citizen input and for people to go down and sign the affidavit, because the police can't witness every single act of littering."

The mayor admits the city does not have a 'serious' litter problem, but there have been several cases of illegal dumping, especially at the harbor.

"We had crawfish in the harbor, and even a case when a deer carcass has been dumped in the harbor and those cases are pending," said Mayor Moran. "This is about community pride and business attraction. People like to come and shop and dine in a city that is clean and safe and beautiful."

Beauty that will continue to shine if everyone obeys the signs. Ocean Springs residents can also get involved in the fight against litter, by joining the city's Earth Day Spring Clean-up. It is on Saturday, April 21st, starting at 9:00 AM. Free bags, gloves and reflective vests are available now at the Ocean Springs Chamber.

And on Wednesday, the city of Pascagoula will announce its own anti-litter campaign and a city-wide clean-up day.

By: Trang Pham-Bui