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Tools to Combat Illegal Dumping

Tools to Combat Illegal Dumping

Illegal Dumping is a national epidemic, disturbing people in the urban neighborhoods and the inner cities.  Waste sites attract and become a breeding ground for rodents and mosquitoes.  Both creatures can carry and transmit harmful diseases to humans.

It is important cities implement a program to prevent the hazards and blight illegal dumping causes.

Effective programs implement an enforcement part of the program and some cities generate revenue to offset the cost of illegal dump site cleanups.  For a city to be able to generate revenue, it must have strong legislation, communication and teamwork between city departments and tools to help the designated department get the job done.

Among many cities who have developed an illegal dumping program, California’s Department of Resources and Recovery (CalRecycle) has developed and provided a tool to help municipalities within California combat illegal dumping within their community.  Within the Enforcement part of the guide, there are four needed strong actions:

  • Staff Resources: Dedicated staff with training and authority to educate the public, respond and investigate illegal dumping complaints, which includes interviews and making arrests
  • Tools and Resources: Resources are paramount to helping the staff combat the illegal dumping problem, which should include:
    • Data management systems to locate and map hot spots
    • Hot lines to receive complaints about illegal dumping
  • Administrative Actions: An effective illegal dumping program must have Orders, Fines and an Administrative Law Judge, to handle major cases
  • Judicial Prosecution:  Illegal dumping programs need to have the ability to use the judicial process to determine guilt and obtain abatement.

Without a strong illegal dumping program and tools to implement the program, cities will continue to face the blight and community panic illegal dumping causes.

How to Stop Illegal Dumping

How to Stop Illegal Dumping

Illegal Dumping has gotten out of hand.  According to the Los Angeles County Public Works, “People usually dump illegally to avoid collection and disposal fees, or because they believe proper disposal is just ‘too much trouble’.”   This is very unfortunate for our communities who receive the negative consequences of higher taxes for cleanup, environmental hazards, and a breeding ground for rats.

The cost of a one-time cleanup and detoxing of an area can cost thousands of dollars.  But to leave the mess is just not an option.  The best option is to stop the illegal dumping before it happens, preventing the cost of cleanup, preventing the chemicals and toxins from entering the ground water, and preventing the rats and mosquitoes from breeding.  The best areas to live are communities that care about their community!  So, what can a community do to prevent illegal dumping?

Here are some key points to help deter illegal dumping:

  • Educate the public through the schools and through community awareness groups about the costs, chemical hazards and dangers incurred by illegal dumping
  • Create safe, public-friendly waste disposal options and advertise them
  • Create laws that impose stiff fines for the perpetrators and advertise these stiff fines
  • Use Illegal Dumping Cameras to catch the perpetrators in the act
  • Use Social Media to ask the public to identify the perpetrators
  • Follow through with quick clean up

These steps will invite the citizens to be involved and help deter the criminal activity of illegal dumping within your community.

Hazards of Illegal Dumping Sites

Hazards of Illegal Dumping Sites

Illegal dumping needs to be managed and stopped. Illegal waste dumping, a problem around the country, causes environmental and physical hazardous that could cause harm to children. What should be a waste management issue becomes safety management for children. 

Although illegal dump sites are hazardous to all people and animals, trash environments are especially dangerous for children, who see the abandoned refrigerators and couches piled up as an invitation to “playhouse”.  Besides abandoned objects, dump sites contain hazards like sharp objects, construction debris, and disposed chemicals. 

Hawaii News Now speaks of the neighborhood, Makakil, who are experiencing illegal dumping in their community. At the dump site, there are a few refrigerators and couches that the children play on. The parents in the community say it’s a “hazard for children”, and they want the problem to stop.

There many more communities around the US that have the issue of illegal waste dumping. Unfortunately this issue has become a safety concern for some parents, like in Makakil. Local governments should be dealing with waste management so local communities can be safer, but instead illegal dumping has become a safety problem for parents. Local governments should incorporate ways to stop illegal dumping in their waste management program, so that the dumping nuisance does not increase the concern parents have in protecting their children.

What is your city doing to stop illegal dumping?

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?