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 in creating a better world, particularly through the use of technology. Today’s IoT + AI technology can help support and drive efforts to keep 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 most 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. Like 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 people can access. 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.How to Prevent Illegal Dumping in your City

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:

  • Creating a neighborhood watch: The individuals and businesses closest to the location of the illegal dumping are always most impacted. Communities have encouraged the creation of citizen patrolling and reporting when suspicious activity occurs.
  • Community Education: Programs through public schools and community awareness groups that share details about the environmental impact and additional costs impacting taxpayers can go a long way in reducing illegal dumping.
  • Post Signs: Erecting “No Dumping & No Trespassing” signs with a posted fine amount could deter some or at least make them think twice about breaking the law. This also helps combat the defense of not knowing the dumping was illegal if caught.
  • Use Security Cameras & Camera Signs: Just the presence of cameras or signs that alert the public that the area is monitored with cameras could cause someone to think twice. With continuous recording, this video data can be utilized by law enforcement agents and used against perpetrators in court to secure a conviction.
  • Use of Cutting Edge Technology: Incorporate Smart Camera Systems: Cameras are being paired with innovative new solutions that are smart enough to reliably detect events like illegal dumping while being able to reduce the amount of false alarms. Furthermore, these cameras can be paired with LED lights and loudspeakers so a remote agent can directly intervene with illegal dumpers in real-time. This can stop the crime in its tracks or flag it to law enforcement for immediate attention.

Case Study: Alameda County

Cities in Alameda County, located in Northern California, were having difficulty enforcing illegal dumping laws, spending millions of dollars a year in clean-up fees. EPIC iO 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 unhappy because the lack of cleanliness impacted their revenue. EPIC iO 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.

To learn more about how your community can benefit from an illegal dumping prevention solution, please schedule a quick demo or connect with an EPIC iO expert to get started today!