The maximum fine for illegally discarding waste in Houston was doubled to from $2,000 to $4,000, City Council approved May 27.

The $4,000 fine is the maximum allowed under state law.

The measure is the latest in a series of efforts to target the city’s most egregious offenders who leave piles of everything from construction materials and tires to furniture and mattresses on roadsides and empty lots.

“It's unattractive; it's unsafe; and it creates a public health problem,” said Vice Mayor Pro Tem Martha Castex-Tatum who had led many of the city’s anti-illegal dumping initiatives.

The correct avenue for disposing of such materials is placing items out for heavy trash pickup during designated junk-waste months or bringing items to the city of Houston’s neighborhood depositories.

The city will also need to consider better public awareness campaign to combat the widespread issue, Council Member Robert Gallegos said.

"We need to make sure we educate the public because just increasing the fine is not going to be enough," he said.

Similarly, council approved a new $100 to $500 fine May 4 for owners of donation boxes who fail to collect donations or address overflows. The donation box operators must receive a city permit and pay a new $191 annual fee.