Pascagoula & Rotary Club Get Tough On Trash

From last night's beer can to last month's fast food, the sight of trash on city streets makes Pascagoula Rotarian John Battley sick.

"We've got all the rivers, marshes, swamps and islands, a nice little town and nice people, and people just trash it," Battley said.

The Rotary Club and the City of Pascagoula don't want to take out the trash for careless drivers. They want people to think before they toss glass bottles and plastic bags.

"If the bags go out on the lake, they stay there forever. Turtles mistake these for jellyfish and eat them, it gives them a blockage and kills them," Battley said.

Battley says the litter also killed Pascagoula's shot with a major corporation's CEO.

"He looked around, he saw the litter, he said 'turn around.' He said, 'I see the litter. These people don't even care about their community,'" Battley said.

If you're caught tossing trash in Pascagoula, you'll pick up a hefty ticket. Litterbugs here will face fines up to $1,000 and possible jail time for repeat offenders.

And other people's trash costs innocent taxpayers too -- Mississippi spends $2 million each year on litter removal. But Battley says it's time the culprits pay the price.

"People are going to speed unless they get a speeding ticket. And people are going to litter unless they get a littering ticket."

With stepped up enforcement and more eyes on the lookout, Battley hopes Pascagoula can ditch the litter problem for good.

Next month Rotarians will post signs throughout the city and at local boat docks reminding folks to contain their trash. If you spot a litterbug while on the road, you can call 1-800-545-3764 to report their tag number.