Consequences of Illegal Dumping
What Are the Consequences of Illegal Dumping?
There are approximately 100 million tons of illegal garbage around the world. The United States has been affected throughout the entire nation, large cities and rural areas being some of the worst. Not only does illegal dumping affect the environment, but also the public health, it also impacts your taxes. The notable amount of garbage lying around has made law makers step up in cities across the nation, creating awareness and trying to tackle this growing problem before it gets even more out of hand.
Today, technology has made it even easier to report illegal dumpsites, harsher penalties also have people thinking twice before tossing their old scrap tires and mattresses on the side of the road. Below are some of the many consequences you could face if found illegal dumping, and solutions to the issue.
A Felony Offense
Depending on your local state regulations, illegal dumping can be considered a misdemeanor or felony, which in some cases, is punishable by jail time. Illegal dumping fines can start at $50 for minor offenses, and can go as high as thousands of dollars in more serious situations.
Some states have begun cracking down on the problem and have created harsher penalties to offenders. As recent as 2014, New Jersey implemented a new plan that punishes illegal dumpsters with fines up to $50,000.00, forfeiture of vehicles involved in the dumping, and possible jail time.
Whats the Difference Between Littering and Illegal Dumping?
In most states, yes, litter is generally defined as a small quantity of waste disposed of illegally. Illegal dumping is generally recognized as disposing of larger volumes or weight of waste/debris. While littering is considered a minor offense, illegal dumping can lead to felony charges, hefty fines, and jail time.
Illegal dumping can lead to health risks including physical and chemical injury to the public, particularly children who come into contact with dangerous debris such as, rusty nails, chemicals, or sharp metals. Many adverse health risks can occur when dangerous chemicals including, automobile fluids, household cleaners, industrial wastes, appliances containing chemicals, and tires are illegally disposed of. The chemicals are absorbed by the soil and into waterways, often poisoning the water we drink and the soil we use to grow crops.
Illegal dump sites are also ideal locations for rodents, vermin, and mosquitoes. These disease carrying animals make places like illegal dumpsites their home, causing health hazards to anyone living nearby. Mosquitoes also thrive inside the moist, warm conditions offered by disposed tires. The EPA reports that mosquitoes multiple 100 times faster than normal in the warm, stagnant water which stands in scrap tire casings.
Illegal Dumping Costs Money
People often have an “out of sight, out of mind” mentality when it comes to dumping waste illegally. In reality, cleaning up, monitoring, and enforcing instances of illegal dumping costs taxpayers a significant amount of money each year. Some urban areas in the United States reportedly spend several million per year on cleanup, hauling, and disposal of illegally dumped waste. Illegal dumping not only can cause your taxes to go higher, but it also can drive down the property values, due to safety concerns and aesthetic reasons. Illegal dumpsites negatively affect residential and commercial development, which of course causes the economy to suffer. Whether you realize it or not, illegal dumping can affect you financially, even if you’re not the offender.
Illegal dumpsites are not only an eyesore, they also cause major damage on the environment. As mentioned above, chemicals from wastes and certain appliances can drain into soil and waterways, damaging plants, wildlife, and water quality. Other issues come into play, including increased risks of forest fires and flooding. Waste that is dumped into waterways can block the flow of water, leading to flooding, illegal dumpsites are also susceptible to fire caused spontaneously by chemical combinations found at the site, and sometimes even arson.
What Can I Do?
Many cities have departments dedicated to handling unauthorized dumping. Check your local government website, or call the environmental division of your local government. If you’re city uses the 311 hotline, you can use it to report illegal dumpsites.
You can correctly dispose of bulky wastes and other large volumes of waste/debris using these methods:
- Renting a dumpster is one of the most economical ways you can dispose of large amounts of waste.
- Hire a junk removal company to haul away the waste / debris for you
- Drop off your waste yourself at a local landfill, licensed transfer station or recycling facility.
- Place your unwanted items on Craigslist or Freecycle
- Dispose of household hazardous waste by dropping off at your nearest HHW facility.
As this issue continues to grow it’s become increasingly important to properly dispose of your waste, this starts with awareness. We hope you have found this post helpful, and will share it with your friends and family to spread that awareness of this ongoing issue. Take a step towards a greener future and take a stand against illegal dumping. Remember when you have a large amount of waste you need to get rid of, do it the correct way and call the experts at Waste Solutions 123!