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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.

Homeless Camps Attract Illegal Dumping and Blight

Homeless Camps Attract Illegal Dumping and Blight

Homelessness is becoming a concern in most parts of the United States.  A person without a stable home can be someone moving from motel to motel, or a car, or in some cases the streets.  Some people without homes have set up temporary shelters, like a tent or tarp.  There are even homeless communities, where there are groups of temporary shelters that can be seen in parks or lined up on streets.  While viewing a homeless camp is very sad, the conditions in these camps are hazardous, not just to the homeless but also to the surrounding community. 

According to a volunteer, who cleans up homeless camps, she finds illegal dumping and very hazardous conditions.  She has even come across dead bodies.   Trash, needles, and unsanitary disposal of waste is a breeding ground for rats, roaches, and other disease carrying critters.

Rats and other rodents carry dangerous diseases, which can be transmitted to human through contact with the feces or urine or breathing in airborne particles. Many people have heard about the Bubonic plague that killed hordes of people in the Middle Ages.  The Bubonic plague is just one of the life-threatening diseases that rodents can carry with them, which can infect a human if the rodent’s flea bites the human.

Within the piled-up trash, these rats multiply and invade the neighboring residents and businesses, causing a community panic. While this problem is very complex, and strategy requires legislation and empathy, there needs to be tools in place to help keep the homeless community from setting up a camp especially near parks and areas where children play. One such tool should be a portable camera that deters the activity and can be easily moved around. 

Portable cameras will help the officers and volunteers who are involved in these communities, while the legislators design a permanent solution.

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.

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.