After talking tough on trash the past few weeks, the Oak Bluffs board of health on Tuesday adopted a new rule that includes a $300 fine for anyone caught illegally disposing of their trash in town-controlled dumpsters by the harbor and elsewhere around town.

The new fines are effective immediately.

The policy was adopted following a brief public hearing, attended by a single resident.

“I have no problem with you guys fining someone caught putting their trash in a [town] dumpster. But I worry that a senior person, on a limited budget, may be left without a way to dispose of their trash,” said East Chop resident Nancy Wright.

“Is there any way such a person could dispose of their trash, and perhaps avoid the charge of buying a sticker [for town trash collection]?” she added.

Health agent Shirley Fauteux said she sympathized with people on a fixed budget struggling to pay for trash disposal, but: “If we said yes to you, or Sally Smith, then everyone would want to do it. And then how do we say no to the next person, you can’t do that, or decide how much trash was enough? The town is spending between $40,000 and $60,000 [a year] for trash that nobody has paid for . . . it has to stop.”

Board of health members suggested that anyone needing a discount on trash stickers should go before the selectmen. “Perhaps somebody could petition them for a reduced fee,” said chairman David Caron.

The issue of illegal trash disposal in town dumpsters came to a head over the Memorial Day weekend, when selectmen ordered the removal of town-owned dumpsters near the harbor. It was viewed as an experiment. The result was trash and garbage left in the places where the dumpsters used to be. Selectmen decided to take a hard line on the problem, and asked the board of health to adopt a policy.