The Lafayette City-Parish Council approved major changes to Lafayette's solid waste laws last night, now requiring unincorporated residents to sign up for waste management services and imposing fines on those who leave garbage cans near the road after pickup.

"Mandatory garbage laws are necessary to avert public health issues," said environmental quality manager Mark Pope. "Our current law dealing with solid waste collection is really ineffective. There's no enforcement mechanism."

According to the new regulations, those who don't sign up for waste collection will face a $50-a-week fine that's capped at $200. Those who leave garbage cans at the road for more than 24 hours after pickup will be fined $25, but no more than $100.

Pope said residents who don't utilize garbage collection services typically burn the trash illegally, dump it roadside or stuff it other people's or business's trash cans.

KATC reported an estimated 1,200 residences of 16,500 in the unincorporated areas of the parish have not signed up for trash service, according to figures from city-parish government.