Effective Illegal Dumping Solution

Effective Illegal Dumping Solution

Illegal dumping is the dumping of waste illegally instead of an authorized method of disposal. The issues that piles of unlawfully dumped waste bring are complex and repetitive. Without proper abatement and deterrence, illegal dumping can quickly become more than just an issue of community neglectfulness.

Illegal dumping is not just an eyesore and a public health hazard. Piles of unlawfully dumped waste can also indicate a given community’s negative attitude towards their own environment. A lack of community pride inspired by illegal dump sites can lead to anxiety, depression, and suspiciousness of other residents in the neighborhood in which they reside.

Repeated acts of illegal dumping can give the feeling that a community is unsafe and contribute to further crime on an already vulnerable neighborhood. Piles of unlawfully dumped waste also serve as a visual representation of social disorganization and crime within a community.

Because of illegal dumping’s negative economic effects, the act contributes greatly to neighborhood decay. Illegal dumping results in lower real estate values and abandoned properties. This type of community blight invites other criminal behavior, such as graffiti and vandalism, drug sales and drug abuse, trespassing, and other types of public nuisance crimes.

Those who dump their waste illegally often feel like they will not be caught while committing the crime. Without a proper means of deterrence, illegal dumping will continue to affect many communities and negatively impact the residents who live there.

What should the community do?

Fortunately, there are creative ideas that not only solve the problem but can add to the city’s resources.  To do this, the city must implement a program that includes city teamwork, involving several departments. 

Implement an effective Illegal Dumping Program:

  • Coordinated efforts to educate the public and to increase public relation efforts.
  • Support from specified enforcement personnel to successfully prosecute individual cases.
  • Totally Portable, High-Resolution Cameras to catch and prosecute dumpers in the act.
The Negative Impacts of Illegal Dumping

The Negative Impacts of Illegal Dumping

Illegal dumping is a complex social, economic, and environmental issue which can most effectively be addressed through identification of its root causes. Illegal dumping can have a devastating impact on the neighborhoods where it regularly occurs. Communities with low-median family incomes, higher rates of petty crime, and a higher percentage of renters are amongst the most commonly afflicted by the piles of unlawfully dumped waste (1). The negative implications of illegal dump sites are vast and affect the community in physical ways, as well as psychologically.

When the residents of a neighborhood observe the piles of unlawfully dumped waste, their initial reaction is often one of disgust due to the lack of care and selfishness influenced by the perpetrators of the crime. These residents may start to feel ashamed that their community is being treated as though it were a trash can of sorts. The “no one cares” feeling illegal dumping invokes can leave residents feeling insecure and unsafe in their living environment and incite further criminal activity and social disorder.

The environmental devastation that illegal dumping causes is also a primary concern, involving many health risks to nearby ecosystems and humans alike. Pollution from fires caused by igniting hazardous waste materials can take years to properly contain, resulting in contaminated ground water and soil. Diseases which can be easily spread via illegal dump sites include leptospirosis and rat-borne diseases such as Hantavirus. Mosquitoes, attracted to the ideal conditions for reproduction in commonly dumped items such as used automobile tires, have been the sole cause behind the Zika and West Nile viruses.

In a November 2018 interview for the local CBS news station in Las Vegas, Adam Chaney of the Southern Nevada Health District is quoted as saying, “If you dump it, you’re going to drink it eventually. It’s going to contaminate our lake [Lake Mead], it’s an eyesore and it’s a nuisance. It costs the taxpayers, it costs the private landowners. And in general, it’s not good for our community; it doesn’t say good things about our community. We don’t want to live in a giant trash heap.”

Because the act of illegal dumping causes so many negative issues within our communities, it is time we do all we can to try to prevent this growing problem. Illegal dumping cameras provide cities with the means to combat the illegal dumping problem within their communities.


  1. Brandt, Amory A., Illegal Dumping as an Indicator for Community Social Disorganization and Crime, San Jose State University; 2017
Illegal Dumping Pollutes Water Supplies

Illegal Dumping Pollutes Water Supplies

The excessive amount of environmental and health risks that illegal dump sites pose on both humans and animals is staggering. Fragile ecosystems and protected wildlife habitats can be easily destroyed by pollution caused by incidences of illegal dumping. Burning of solid waste at dump sites and harmful toxins dumped unlawfully eventually find their way into surface and groundwater, contaminating drinking water supplies with numerous, and very dangerous, pathogens.

In late 2018, Lake Mead near Las Vegas, Nevada experienced massive water contamination caused by multiple illegal dump sites. These dump sites contained many dangerous waste products such as paint, chemicals, and paint, and prescription medications. After a particularly wet rainy season, toxins contained in the dump sites quickly sped their way into Lake Mead. As a water supply for 2.2 million Nevada residents, the state knew it was imperative to repair the damage from the contaminated lake; the cost of which resulted in millions in taxpayer dollars.

In February of 2019, a man from the San Francisco Bay area, James Philip Lucero, was sentenced to 30 months in prison after discharging unpermitted pollutants into wetlands and waters of the United States, violating the Federal Clean Water Act. Without the legally-approved permits, Lucero charged a fee to building contractors and trucking businesses in exchange for providing open space to dump fill material and construction debris. Lucero’s illegal dumping caused water contamination to nearby federally protected wetlands, resulting in damage to fragile habitats and ecosystems in the southern area of the San Francisco Bay.

An often overlooked consequence of the act of illegal dumping is the damage it incurs. Water contamination and pollution, environmental threats, and the risk to human health likely never cross the minds of those who perpetuate the crime of illegal dumping. Informing the public and proper deterrence of the act of illegal dumping is of the utmost importance to ensuring the safety of the world’s future.

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?