The Problems and Cost of Illegal Dumping

The Problems and Cost of Illegal Dumping

Illegal dumping is quickly becoming a global problem. Cleaning up unsightly, hazardous garbage sites are mandatory, because they can easily pose a number of health risks, cause environmental damage, and contribute to urban blight. Used automobile tires that have been discarded to the side of a road, or in a rural area, can harbor mosquitoes when they contain stagnant water. Dump site mosquitoes can then transfer diseases such as West Nile Virus and the Zika Virus. Batteries and other electronics that have been disposed of unlawfully are easily combustible, igniting fires that cause air pollution and contamination of nearby ground water.  But what about the costs?

Unfortunately, for many heavily-populated municipalities, cleaning up illegal dump sites is no affordable task. Thousands of dollars are spent on clean-up crews and the equipment needed to haul the waste away. HAZMAT crews are brought in to assess any environmental concerns, as well as possible site contamination. Without a proper means of deterrence, as soon as one dump site is cleaned, another one quickly springs up in its place.

While the costs incurred because of illegal dumping varies from city to city, the means is almost always the same. For example, the average cost per year associated with cleaning up illegal dumping in San Francisco is 10 million., and according to Baltimore Public Works their cost in 2017 was $21,164,771.00. These figures are the norm for large cities who are struggling to combat the problem of illegal dumping.

With so much money being poured into cleaning illegal dump sites, these budgets would be better allocated to other areas of spending. If illegal dump sites were deterred and eradicated, the funds could be transferred to better use such as public transportation and community beautifying. What is your city doing to stop illegal dumping?

Fires and Illegal Dumping

Fires and Illegal Dumping

Illegal Dumping can cause fires and combating illegal dumping is becoming a top priority for many cities throughout the world. The growing problem is created by those who do not want to pay fees associated with disposing of their waste legally, but who would rather risk stiff penalties and fines if they were to be caught committing the crime.


Lawfully disposed hazardous materials, such as used automobile oil, may at times incur various fees for its disposal. In an effort to avoid paying these fees, would-be dumpers simply find an area to dispose of these materials, and break the law by doing so.


There exists a vast array of materials that can be commonly found amidst the rubble in a pile of illegally dumped waste. Items that include household refuse, used automobile parts, and hazardous medical waste. While many items that compose an unlawfully dumped waste site often pose various health risks, flammable materials at an illegal dump site can cause serious harm.


Electronic waste and used automobile tires are some of the most commonly illegally dumped items. When exposed to high temperatures and decomposition within the dump site, these items can catch fire quickly. Due to the fact that many illegal dump sites are located in more rural areas, these dump site fires can spread to the surrounding habitat and lead to wide-scale forest fires.


When hazardous materials combust, the toxic air particles resulting from the site fire can have devastating consequences on humans and the surrounding wildlife, while polluting nearby ground and drinking water.


Repeat offenders and dumpers of various hazardous materials face heavier fines and possible jail time for dumping their garbage unlawfully, as they should.  Communities need tools, such as illegal dumping cameras, social media, and heavy fines to combat and prevent the dump sites from turning into a blazing inferno.   In addition to a means of prevention, it is up to our own communities to make sure those responsible for committing this odious act are held responsible. Be proactive, stop the problem before the community goes up in smoke!



Discarded beverage cans and jettisoned pieces of trash lining our highways and on-ramps

Cities are Fed Up with Illegal Dumping

We’ve all experienced it before, discarded beverage cans and jettisoned pieces of trash lining our highways and on-ramps, old furniture and unwanted belongings left curbside adjacent to and in front of our homes and used automobile tires piled sky-high in vacant lots. These are just a few examples of our daily experiences with illegal dumping.

A perfect example of a city that has just had it with the criminal acts of illegal dumping, is Youngstown, Ohio, as they are now resorting to setting up cameras to catch the fly-tippers.  Mayor Jamael Tito Brown is announcing to the city that “enough is enough.”  Many of their litterbugs are even turning up as the city residents themselves, deserting waste items ranging from abandoned tires to dangerous objects such as construction rubble.  The litterbugs are treated and prosecuted as criminals, sentenced to jail-time and community service if caught.

Youngstown has also developed an establishment for their litter regulation, called Green Youngstown Litter Control and Recycling, supported by the Keep America Beautiful organization.  Youngstown is infuriated by its illegal dumping problem, and with these new agendas in place, they are hoping to see a shift in the tides soon.

Another city that is more than fed up with illegal dumping is Chicago, Illinois. Their newest legislation, termed the Illinois Environmental Protection Act, aims to prevent cases of illegal dumping by means of criminalization and prosecution of persons suspected of the heinous crime; as well as preventative measures such as surveillance cameras installed at regularly dumped areas.

If more municipalities become inspired by the methods of these proactive cities, illegal dumping can easily become a thing of the past.

Illegal Dumping Breeds Rats

Illegal Dumping Breeds Rats

The unlawfully disposed piles of solid waste that constitute illegal dump sites create many problems for the community in which this crime takes place. Environmental hazards and lowered property values are just the tip of the iceberg when the illegal dumping problem is not closely controlled. In addition to these issues, public health hazards associated with illegal dumping are also a prominent threat in many communities.


The growing problem of illegal dumping is due to the fact that if an illegal dump site is not quickly cleaned, the likelihood of further recurrences of the crime climbs exponentially. The “snowballing” effect that these dump sites produce invites a multitude of vermin and dangerous bacteria to potentially infect citizens living nearby with various diseases and ailments, and the results can prove deadly.


It is no myth that discarded trash begets rats, raccoons and other pests, resulting in an ideal breeding ground within illegal dump sites. Many of these types of scavenger rodents bring with them various diseases, diseases which, if not properly treated, can result in serious illness. Rats, for example, have been famous for centuries for helping spread the Bubonic Plague in the mid-14th century. The “Black Death”, as it was known, wiped out roughly 60 per cent of Europe’s total population, with an estimated 75 to 200 million deaths as a result of the disease.


Rat urine is also responsible for the spread of Leptospirosis, a disease which often results in kidney and liver damage. Hantavirus, a debilitating bronchial disease, is spread via air particles from infected rat feces and urine and is currently one of the most commonly transmitted rat-borne diseases.


In an effort to try to eradicate rat-borne disease, it is important to stop the problem before it starts. Illegal dump sites are havens for breeding rats and the health threats they bring with them. Preventing illegal dumping is an effective means by which we also prevent these terrible diseases from afflicting the people of our communities.