Cities report zero citations after boosting fines to stop mask littering

Austen Erblat, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
·1 min read

Boca Raton and Deerfield Beach boosted the penalties for anyone caught littering personal protective equipment, hopeful it would reduce the sight of masks discarded in public places. But after their efforts to enhance the penalties, neither city has cited anyone for the offense.

Deerfield Beach passed its emergency order in April last year, making the illegal dumping or littering of used PPE a second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 60 days in jail, a $500 fine or both. The city of Boca Raton passed an ordinance in March this year, increasing the fine for littering PPE from $50 to $250.

Boca Raton City Councilman Andy Thomson, who introduced the law, suspects it’s because the new ordinance may have served as a deterrent. Thomson, who tracks the trash he picks up on while running, said he’s seen about half as much PPE since the ordinance passed.

“The message we sent has made people think twice about littering their PPE,” he said. “I have seen far less PPE litter on the streets during my runs since the fine was increased.”

Austen Erblat can be reached at aerblat@sunsentinel.com, 954-599-8709 or on Twitter @AustenErblat.