LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT)] Forgotten straws and bottle caps line the streets in downtown Lexington, cigarette butts are tucked into flower gardens and piles of garbage that never made it in the trash sit next to trash cans.
You might say Lexington is littered.
"Because we've heard a regular series of ice and snow events this winter we've had fewer opportunities to clean that up," said Mark York with the division of Environmental Policy.
He says the departments that normally keep downtown clear of litter, such as Streets and Roads, waste management and contractors have all been focused on clearing snow and ice instead of trash.
Now the snow is gone and the litter that hibernated for months is rearing its ugly head.
"The corners often have cigarette butts; it's an epidemic here as I think it is anywhere. Nobody likes to see that," said Chad Wilhoite.
York says the amount of trash on the streets is concerning.
"It can clog our storm drains and those drains go directly to our creeks and streams," he said.
But Ezra Romero doesn’t think it's really that bad.
"I think Lexington is a really clean city. I’m from New York so it is way cleaner here than it is there. I see rats and trash all the time in the city," Romero said.
Lexington officials say they're serious about cleaning up the city and they say anyone who makes their job harder could face serious consequences. If police issue a criminal citation for littering the fine can cost up to $500.
York says even though the winter weather has held them back they aren't using that as an excuse because they know they - and we all - can do our part to keep Lexington beautiful.
York says if you'd like to help clean up the city there will be several major cleaning events downtown over the next few months. For more information, visit: www.keeplexingtonbeautiful.com