3 Reasons It's Important to Prevent and Avoid Illegal Dumping

December 1, 2018

By Mark G. McLaughlin

Cities and towns across the country – and the world – are being overwhelmed by waste. Modern waste management and environmental programs can barely keep pace. With the help of the community, most

states, counties and cities are fighting the good fight and holding back what is quite literally a tidal wave of trash. Unfortunately, there are people and companies who, through illegal dumping, make this difficult job even more so for those who fight to keep their communities clean. Their actions cost taxpayers money, lower property values and threaten the very health of the community in which they live and work.

Illegal dumping threatens the health and safety of people and wildlife

Illegal dumping is a form of pollution, especially when it is in the form of motor oil, dangerous household or industrial chemicals, toxic waste or other liquids. These toxins leak and leach into the soil, polluting both surface and groundwater. That poses a danger to plants, birds, animals, fish and other wildlife – and to any people who come in contact with them, the waste or the soil or water tainted by illegally dumped materials. Other items like mattresses and trash attract bugs, rodents and other types of vermin, which also pose a threat to people, pets and wildlife. Illegal dumping of building materials, demolition debris or other junk can also attract and pose a hazard to curious children.

Illegal dumping creates eyesores

Illegally dumped materials of any type are just ugly to look at. They are an eyesore, and they send a message that this is the kind of place people do not care about. That combination will drive away customers, make tourists less likely to visit and spend money and make new businesses and prospective homeowners less likely to settle in the neighborhood. Put another way, trash drives down property values – and that means anyone who has property in the neighborhood and plans to sell or rent it will take a major hit to the wallet.

Illegal dumping costs taxpayers money

Illegally disposed of material has to be removed, and that makes more work for the local or state department of public works. Just hauling it away means more man-hours and more wear and tear on equipment, which not only costs taxpayers money, but also means those resources are not being used for the ways they were originally intended. Illegal waste removal – and cleanup, which can be far more expensive - either diverts money from other projects or require the expenditure of funds set aside for emergencies or other unforeseen events. In the worst case, it may require the raising of taxes or bonds to pay to undo the damage done to the environment or to the very water sources upon which farmers, businesses and people rely.

Civic groups and local governments help raise awareness

The threats posed by illegal dumping have sparked many state and local governments and civic groups to take action. The County of Los Angeles Department of Public Works and its Environmental Programs Division, in particular, have provided information regarding the dangers and cost to the community of illegal dumping. The information includes a downloadable brochure  to share, print, and a hotline for illegal dumping ( 1-888-8-DUMPING).  Their website can be viewed at Clean LA. Other groups such as the Antelope Valley Illegal Dumping Task Force have won grants and raised funds for educational campaigns designed to raise awareness about and prevent illegal dumping.

The news and editorial staffs of KNX 1070 Newsradio had no role in this post's preparation.​​