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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.

Hazards of Illegal Dumping Sites

Hazards of Illegal Dumping Sites

Illegal dumping needs to be managed and stopped. Illegal waste dumping, a problem around the country, causes environmental and physical hazardous that could cause harm to children. What should be a waste management issue becomes safety management for children. 

Although illegal dump sites are hazardous to all people and animals, trash environments are especially dangerous for children, who see the abandoned refrigerators and couches piled up as an invitation to “playhouse”.  Besides abandoned objects, dump sites contain hazards like sharp objects, construction debris, and disposed chemicals. 

Hawaii News Now speaks of the neighborhood, Makakil, who are experiencing illegal dumping in their community. At the dump site, there are a few refrigerators and couches that the children play on. The parents in the community say it’s a “hazard for children”, and they want the problem to stop.

There many more communities around the US that have the issue of illegal waste dumping. Unfortunately this issue has become a safety concern for some parents, like in Makakil. Local governments should be dealing with waste management so local communities can be safer, but instead illegal dumping has become a safety problem for parents. Local governments should incorporate ways to stop illegal dumping in their waste management program, so that the dumping nuisance does not increase the concern parents have in protecting their children.

What is your city doing to stop illegal dumping?

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.
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.