Illegal Dumping

Illegal Dumping Prevention

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.

Publicizing success

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.


Waste Management Problems in Rural Areas

Waste management is essential to the community, but not all people have access to good waste management. The World Bank estimates that 19% of the people in the United States live in remote rural areas.  That 19 percent, unfortunately, do not have the same waste management coverage as those who live in urban environments, which causes problems for the community.

Everado Diaz, who lives in the rural area of Brownsville, Texas, is frustrated with illegal dumping across the ditch near his house.  Diaz is tired of the ”mile stretch” of trash that covers the drainage ditch with couches and mattresses.  Apparently the illegal dumping has accumulated over the years, and Diaz nor the local officials “know who they are”. Illegal dumping in Cameron County is a problem not just near Diaz but throughout the whole county.

Pete Delgadillo, a Cameron County Constable, says it is hard to deal with illegal waste dumping in secluded areas because they have the “lack of manpower” to protect rural areas. Cameron County is currently working with the sheriff’s department to find ways on how to stop illegal dumping.

Counties with remote rural areas throughout the country are dealing with illegal dumping. Waste management in the local government seems to not have enough “manpower”. Finding tools that cost less “manpower” and are remote will prove to be an effective way to stop illegal dumping.  What tools does your city use for waste management problems?