I’m going to throw out some trash-talk on this blog. Okay not your typical sports throw downs or burns, but actually talk about trash—the gross smelly waste that is a product of living. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Americans generate 292.4 million tons of municipal solid waste (trash) every year. That equates to 4.9 pounds per person per day. Thanks to an intricate waste management system, most of our trash is taken from our curbs to local recycling plants and landfills. However, at most landfills and city dumps, people can pay a tipping fee and bring their own loads in. On average, tipping fees are about $55 per ton. That can change depending on the type of waste as well as the landfill. While a ton sounds like a lot, it can actually add up very quickly if you are throwing away things like concrete or even trees.
Avoiding tipping fees is one of the reasons people will commit illegal dumping. Illegal trash dumping is defined as discarding of any waste upon any public right-of-way, city or private, without permission. Unlike littering, which is typically small, singular items, illegal dumping is often huge. In fact, the City of Camden, New Jersey saw firsthand just how huge dumping could be.
They had more than 50 sites throughout their city that they would check on and clean up multiple times per week. They found everything from construction debris to sofas and even a boat. Last year alone, they cleaned up more than 43,000 tons of trash from these sites. It was costing the city more than $4 million per year in tipping fees to clean up the trash. That doesn’t include the salaries of the workers or the cost of the equipment that was needed for the weekly clean ups. Furthermore, dumping can create health issues for residents, animals, and the environment. Disease carrying rodents are attracted to the trash and it inhibits vegetation from growing. Camden had multiple 55-gallon drums of unknown chemicals left on the side of the road. They had to call in a specially trained clean up crew to take care of the chemicals before it could hurt anyone or anything.
Camden’s dumping issues were severe. A $4 million expense will destroy any city budget. Furthermore, the trash created eyesores and stopped grass and other plants from growing. This is just one city’s experience with illegal dumping, but it is happening across the United States. It is estimated that more than 1.5 million tons of trash are dumped each year throughout the country and it’s not a problem that just goes away. It requires time and money to clean which is a burden that transfers directly to taxpayers.
But what can be done to prevent illegal dumping? Most of the time, people will discard their trash on the side of the road in uninhabited areas during the night. A police officer or a security guard could be hired to monitor the site, but in Camden’s case that would require an entire police force just to guard dumping sites. Furthermore, that is a waste of trained personnel who need to be focused on saving lives, not on people’s trash.
One of the easiest illegal dumping prevention methods is to post signs. Warning signs like “no dumping” and “no trespassing” can help deter some criminals. However, when that fails the best way is to install video cameras.
Traditional cameras are hard to install at dumping sites. There is often a lack of power or needed infrastructure (like a place to mount the cameras). That’s why mobile security cameras from LiveView Technologies (LVT) are the perfect fit. Our units are mounted on a trailer and are completely self-sufficient. They do not require traditional hookups to power or the internet because they rely on solar power and batteries. Furthermore, they run on cellular connectivity so they can literally be placed anywhere in the world.
The best part about LVT Units isn’t their mobility. The best part of mobile security units from LVT is that they employ active deterrence and don’t just record video. In fact, they use a combination of lights, sounds, and analytics to defend your property to stop criminals. If the criminal still insists on dumping their boat even after they set off the unit (who dumps an entire boat?) then you will have quality recordings to pass to law enforcement. However, we know from experience how well the deterrence factor of our units prevents illegal dumping. Don’t believe us. Just ask Camden how well it has worked for them.