Illegal Waste Dumping Facts in America
Illegal dumping (also known as fly tipping) is a global problem. It has been estimated that nearly 100 million tons worth of illegally dumped waste are in existence. The illegal disposal of nearly 1.5 million tons annually by Americans is the largest single source.
This does not include plastic bags that are often littered. Illegal dumping refers to a large amount of waste, usually more than 15 pounds or 27 cubic yards, in areas such as woods, alleys or vacant lots. Each state and municipality decides what constitutes illegal dumping.
Illegal Dumping: Common Causes
People can illegally dump trash for many reasons. These reasons can range from not being educated on the available disposal options to simply not having the time or desire to drive to the nearest landfill or transfer station. The most common reason is a lack of legal disposal options.
Illegal Dumping and its Impact
Even if the crime is not committed by you, you still pay for it (in more than one way). You are likely to be affected in many ways, including neighborhood blight and the stigma it brings. Waste pollutes the environment and can cause financial problems for you, if the city has to clean up.
Environmental effects of illegal dumping
There are many potential hazards for animals and land when trash is left in natural areas. The impact of trash on natural spaces is not always apparent and may take time to become apparent.
1. Water and soil become contaminated
There is an immediate risk to soil and water if a large amount of waste is found in one location. Contrary to regulated and sanitary landfills which protect the area from contaminants, illegal dump sites don't have any monitoring or systems that can be continuously monitored for environmental safety.
Runoff and hazardous waste can seep into streams, rivers and lakes if they are not controlled and monitored. Chemicals can seep into soil, causing it to become infertile and encouraging the spread of invasive plants that are not immune. The chemicals can also be absorbed into the soil and become food.
2. Wildlife is being destroyed
The impact of illegal waste dumping is not only felt by animals, but also humans. They are more likely to feel the effects first. They may feel mild inconvenienced by the trash pile blocking their path. However, this is not the end of the problem.
Smaller animals may become entangled in trash and fall ill, making them attractive prey for predators. Fish may become ill from ingesting waste particles or runoff if the trash makes it to a water source. The trash attracts wildlife, even if they are not native to the area. This can result in new diseases or predators entering the ecosystem, causing disruptions to the natural flow of the ecosystem, from mosquitoes to raccoons.
3. The risk of natural disasters increases
Garbage is flammable. This is because different pieces of garbage can mix and release combustible gasses. Unchecked illegal dump sites can lead to a wildfire that could grow into a forest fire. Dumped trash can also cause flooding by either blocking natural waterways or increasing erosion.
Illegal Dumping and its Effects in Your Community
Illegal dumping can also affect the environment. You and your neighborhood can be more affected by illegal dumping than you might think.
1. Potential for Health Issues Increasing
Illness is one of the greatest dangers that illegal dumping poses for humans. Places that have trash left out can be a breeding ground not only for insects such as mosquitoes or flies but also for animals carrying diseases like rats, snakes, and opossums.
Some of the most life-threatening diseases that these animals and insects can transmit include yellow fever, dengue fever and encephalitis.
2. Property values decline
Urban and residential areas are both at risk from residents using vacant lots as dumps or people leaving bulky items at the curb. Although both are illegal dumping by most cities, the impact it has on the environment is irreparable.
Potential buyers will tell others if they are confronted by bad smells from an illegal dump site or can't drive down streets without coming across trash on vacant lots or sitting at the curb. The market for properties that don't sell in an area begins to decline.
3. Citizens pay for clean-up costs
Many community cleanups are handled by non-profit organizations that accept charitable donations. If you have access to quality environmental organizations, illegal dumping may not be a financial burden.
If the nonprofit doesn't address the problem, the local government must step in to allocate funds. Kansas City, for example, has $2 million in its budget for illegal dumping cleanup. This money is paid by the taxpayers. Although most dump sites can be cleaned up easily if there is only household junk, bags of trash and other debris, areas with hazardous household waste are more costly to clean up.
Solutions to Illegal Dumping
There is no one way to stop illegal dumping. However, there are many ways you can help. How you tackle the problem will depend on where illegal dumping is taking place -- on your property, or in the community. A proper waste disposal is a great step solution to reduce the risks of illegal dumping. Dispose it properly in a dumpster. A Dumpster rental Melbourne can assist in organizing waste disposal.
How to prevent Illegal Dumping of Your Property
It is easiest to stop dumpers by posting "no-trespassing” and "no-dumping" signs where they have occurred. You should identify areas where someone could dump large amounts of trash and not be noticed, such as blind spots or structures that aren't visible from the road or spaces with detached houses.
Installing a video surveillance system is an option if signs aren't working. The camera will not only deter criminals, but it will also provide evidence that can be used to assist authorities in catching them. Notifying your local police about any issues you are having is a good idea. They may increase patrols on your property if necessary.
How to combat illegal dumping in your community
As you drive down the street, you notice a heap of garbage in an alleyway. It's obvious that it isn't supposed to be there. What can you do?
Contact your local authorities if you spot illegal dumping or suspects. There is no universal way to report illegal dumpsites. However, your local police or solid waste department usually has the responsibility for curbing it. For information on how to report illegal dumping, check the website of your city.
You can also contact an affordable dumpster rental company to arrange cleanups in your area. These organizations and disposal companies often work in close collaboration with local governments to coordinate beautification efforts. They can also provide the information you require if you want to get involved.