Posts

Autumn Uncovers Illegal Dump Sites

Autumn Uncovers Illegal Dump Sites

Autumn is just around the corner and soon lush green leaves, which served as screens, will be replaced by filthy trash piles previously hidden. The dirty litter sites you forgot about are now front and center in view of the whole community. Now is the time to be thinking about those illegal dump piles that are unsightly, dangerous and costly, and use your resources take care of them.

Illegal trash areas are disgusting in so many ways. Unfortunately, illegal dumpers take the beauty of a neighborhood or country lane and turn it into a dumping ground. This pile of trash whether in the form of tires, freezers or plastic bottles creates an eye sore for the community. Unlawful dumping grounds attract creatures, such as rats and roaches, that are associated with disease.  Now, land that was once enjoyed by the public has become evaded, neglected, and a target.

Illegitimate dumping sites are not just annoying, they are a hazard to the community. Most people know areas littered with trash become home to roaches, rats and mosquitoes, but did you know it also becomes the home to bacteria that is harmful to humans?  Pathogens are hiding in the debris. According to the Environmental Science & Technology Publication, “Both large and small plastic debris can act as a substratum for pathogenic micro-organisms and parasites.” This is not good news.

Besides being hazardous to the community, illicit dumping is costly to the community.  Unfortunately,  community resources that can be used in more productive programs, are being used to clean up illegal rubbish sites.  The cost to clean unsanctioned dump sites varies but an article published by the EPA states it is estimated that “urban areas have reported spending several million dollars a year.” Stopping the problem of Illegal dumping is a challenge for all cities, but now is the time to use your resources and take care of this dirty task.

Garbage

Illegal Dumping – Breeding Mosquitoes

Illegal dumping sites are a breeding ground for all kinds of diseases and mosquitoes.  In addition to rodents and the microscopic organisms, there are the disease carrying insects.  These creatures enter into the human domain, carrying with them their diseases, or become infected after biting a disease carrying source.  Some diseases transmitted by the mosquito in North America are Malaria, West Nile Virus, Encephalitis, and the most recent scare, Zika Fever.

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, Mosquitoes require water to undergo their life cycle.  The four stages of life, hatching from an egg to becoming an adult flying insect, can take anywhere from 4 days to a few months, depending on the temperature and other environmental factors.  The female flying insect then searches for a blood meal, which can be an animal or a human.  After feeding, the female mosquito lays the eggs on or near water.

According to The American Mosquito Control Association, AMCA, a nonprofit organization that provides information and education to help communities suppress the mosquito population,  many mosquito problems in your neighborhoods are likely to come from water filled containers.

Now, imagine the unintended containers left at an illegal dump site.  Just to name a few, there are tires, mattresses, and toys.  Left unattended these articles accumulate more than enough stagnate water to attract and breed mosquitoes.

With the large amounts of rain and snow most cities have experienced this winter and spring, there is a lot of standing water.  And there are a lot of Illegal Dumping Sites.  Therefore, the probability of pestilence is high this year.

Illegal Dumping is a problem cities should take seriously. Thankfully, most people dispose of their trash in a responsible way.  However, there are some who do not, and the rest of the population is counting on the cities to do everything they can to prevent the  mosquito borne diseases that are plaguing the communities.  What is your city doing to prevent illegal dumping, the mosquito breeding grounds?

Illegal dumping of tires

Illegal Dumping-Tires

Although most people take their worn out tires to a reputable drop off location, some tires are left abandoned. Usually, abandoned in an illegal dumping spot known to the locals. This creates a possible hazard to the community. Not only is a pile of illegally dumped tires unsightly, they are harmful.

Did you know illegally dumped tires are consider hazardous waste? According to the Fresno Development and Resource Management (DARM), 800 million used tires are stockpiled. Stockpiled tires can provide a habitat for disease spreading mosquitoes.  And with all the rain California has received this year, the West Nile virus or ZIKA carrying mosquitoes are a real threat. In addition to tires being a habitat, DARM warns that tires release paralytic oil. Paralytic oil can possibly start a fire, creating an oil fire. Sounds pretty hazardous!  But what can you do about this problem to help your community?

Here are some actions items you can do to help your community with the Illegal Dumping problem:

  • Report any Illegal Dump Sites 
  • If you witness the dumping, take a picture or write down:
    • The license plate number
    • The description of the vehicle
    • What was dumped
  • If the Illegal Dumping occurs on your private property, post signs according to the laws of your city.  (Following the city requirements allow code enforcement officers to help with appropriate action)

The first responsible action one can do is be aware that the Illegal dumping of tires is dangerous and a real problem.  The second responsible action one can do is help prevent it.

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.