'Don't be a litterbug:' Milwaukee leaders launch effort to make city the cleanest in the country

MILWAUKEE -- Unsightly garbage strewn across the city is one reason Milwaukee officials have set new standards when it comes to littering. Beginning on Monday, April 1, the fine for littering increased tenfold.

"In this cleanup campaign, we have one goal -- for Milwaukee to be the cleanest city in the country," said Milwaukee Alderman Russell Stamper.

Snow mounds throughout the city may have melted as spring arrived, but what was uncovered is no welcome sight.

"Really, we need to get people to start curbing their behavior," said Joe Wilson, executive director of Keep Greater Milwaukee Beautiful.

On Monday, city leaders in Milwaukee rolled out the new cleanup campaign.

"I'm really tired of the litter," Stamper said.

Keep Greater Milwaukee Beautiful news conference

Alderman Stamper, who is spearheading the effort, said there is another key piece to this puzzle.

"The other part of the team is the entire community," Stamper said.

Starting on April 1, the fine for littering in Milwaukee increased to $500.

"If you do choose to disrespect our beautiful city, we will hold you accountable," Stamper said.

Formerly a $50 fine, the new surge was no April Fools joke.

"We have all the responsibility in this," said Milwaukee Alderwoman Chantia Lewis.

Instead of tossing your trash in the grass, Stamper asked residents to look for one of the "Big Clean MKE" garbage cans.

Wilson also encouraged people to hold one another accountable by hosting their own neighborhood cleanups

"We will provide supplies -- bags, buckets, grabbers, rakes, shovels, brooms -- whatever it takes for that neighborhood to get done," Wilson said.

"Don't be a litterbug! Keep Milwaukee clean," Lewis said.