Illegal dumping affects many communities around the globe. Hazardous waste, chemicals, and tires all negatively impact the environment and cost communities thousands of dollars. How to stop illegal dumping? Illegal dumping prevention is a tricky thing, and needs to be done correctly.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), based in Region 5 in Chicago, wrote an “Illegal Dumping Prevention Guidebook” on how to establish an effective illegal dumping prevention program. The guide book addresses four areas:
- Effective Leadership and support by the local officials
- Cooperation among authorities, communities, and industry
- An Integrated approach
- Publicizing success
Effective Leadership and support by the local officials
In order to prevent illegal dumping, there needs to be a prevention program in place. All the key leaders and government officials need to be on aboard with that program. Local officials should come together to work with laws to stop illegal dumping, or develop laws to help prevent and discourage illegal dumping. Officials need to plan and receive adequate funding. Stopping illegal dumping has to be on the priority list. If it is not, then preventing it will be difficult.
In addition, there needs to be effective equipment and tools for the leaders to deal with preventing illegal dumping, equipment like camera systems that take high resolutions photos that capture license plates in complete darkness. The leaders need to learn how to use their tools and equipment to make better use of tools at their disposal.
Cooperation among authorities, communities, and industry
Other departments like the police, public works, environmental, and sanitation need to be on board, not just city officials. There needs to be good communication and coordination among departments. A good model would be where the city officials put a penalty in place, public works and environmental departments use tools to catch law breakers, and the police enforce the law. Putting an illegal dumping task force together can help put the load off other departments, but there still needs to be proper collaboration and communication.
An Integrated approach
Integration of several strategies will prove to be an effective way to stop illegal dumping. EPA’s “Illegal Dumping Prevention Guidebook”, gives four strategies:
- Site Maintenance and controls
- Community outreach and involvement
- Targeting enforcement
- Program measurement
The guidebook gives detailed descriptions of these “toolkit” items at the end of the book. Learning to integrate these strategies is an important part of illegal dumping prevention.
Showing success through media is a way to notify the community that illegal dumping is being dealt with, and the prevention program is working. This will help gain additional support from other organizations and surrounding communities and will educate them on how to stop illegal dumping. In addition, tracking arrests and publicizing them will fuel illegal dumping prevention, because other illegal dumpers will be notified and hopefully stop.