- Apr 16
Keeping Our Land Clean: Ways to Deter Illegal Dumping, an Expensive Yet Common Global Issue
In celebration of Earth Day on April 22, we’re reviewing the influence technology can play at creating a better world, particularly through the use of technology. Today’s IoT + AI technology can not only help support, but drive efforts in keeping our planet clean, green, and safe for communities.
In this post, we’re going to discuss the destructive and expensive properties tied to illegal dumping.
The Challenge with Illegal Dumping
Illegal dumping is a prevalent issue in a majority of communities across the United States. Since it’s so widespread and common, most people don’t realize the time, energy, and cost it puts on city governments. In fact, it’s reported that about 1.5 million tons of trash is illegally dumped every year. To compensate for the additional costs and resources, it’s estimated that American taxpayers pay an additional $11.5 billion to deal with illegal dumping. To add insult to injury, illegal dumping can also drive down the value of people’s homes, as well as cause other economic hardships.
Illegal dumping is not a victimless crime. Similar to other community issues, this can prove a heavy financial burden to tight and finite budgets, and in-person 24/7 security and monitoring can be costly and ineffective.
Illegal dumping can happen anywhere – in alleyways, parking lots, or remote areas that people have access to. Dumping is particularly problematic in remote areas where “no one is watching.” Communities are left to clean up truckloads of tires, old furniture, or even hazardous waste left behind by others. By stopping illegal dumping before it happens, cities and counties can save hundreds of thousands of dollars associated with the clean-up costs and improve the associated environmental risks.
Common Deterrents to Illegal Dumping
With the impracticality of patrolling every corner of every street around-the-clock, the most common methods to deter illegal dumping are:
Case Study: Alameda County
Cities in Alameda County, located in Northern California, were having a very hard time enforcing illegal dumping laws, spending millions of dollars a year in clean-up fees. IntelliSite worked with the District Attorney’s (DAs) Office of Oakland to partner with local, private businesses where illegal dumping frequently occurred.
The local businesses were not happy because the lack of cleanliness was impacting their revenue. IntelliSite and the business owners collaborated to place cameras in strategic locations around the impacted downtown areas. With remote agents available to verify and respond to flagged events, trained operators confirmed when a car was parked, individuals got out of the vehicle, and something was dumped or left in the street. This information was shared with local authorities for appropriate follow-up. Due to constant monitoring, these illegal dumping activities declined dramatically, and the program was expanded to other cities in Alameda County.