Illegal Dumping: An Environmental Crime
Even though many municipalities provide large bulk pickup programs, items such as: mattresses, used car parts, batteries, old appliances, and construction waste end up on sidewalks, roadways and remote locations, a sad environmental crime. Sometimes the unwanted expense of lawful means to dispose waste can be a factor when dealing with the problem of illegal dumping, but in a lot of cases convenience, an uncaring attitude towards the environment, and lax law enforcement contribute greatly to illegal dumping.
It is no coincidence that many items not properly or lawfully discarded are usually large bulk items that are difficult to deal with. Fees associated with the disposal of large bulk items or hazardous materials can fetch a high premium, and many companies are ever so diligent in finding new ways to cut corners and save on costs, which is convenient for them. However, a contradiction exists here. The disposal fees pale in comparison to criminal fines and have the ability to bankrupt a company convicted of illegal dumping, which is not convenient or desirable.
Even though some materials are extremely hazardous, often by-products of land clearing and demolition industries, these materials frequently make their way into illegal dumping sites and can contaminate ground and surface water. These environmentally unfriendly products include lead-based paints, used motor oil from gasoline-powered generators, and broken sections of drywall and insulation. If not disposed of in a lawful and federally regulated manner, hazardous materials can have disastrous effects to both the environment and our communities for decades to come, but these dumpers do not care.
The problem of illegal dumping only grows when nothing is done to stop it. Dump sites draw additional dumpers resulting in a “snowball” effect of large heaps of trash. Those persons who dump their garbage illegally are often drawn to remote, unsecured areas as well as areas around unattended waste containers. Stiffer fines and tools designed to deter this activity in these remote areas are needed.