Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful Launches IllegalDumpFreePA
Surveillance Camera Program Aims to Curb Illegal Dumping
Greensburg, PA [March 11, 2015] – Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful today launched a new innovative program called IllegalDumpFreePa that will provide surveillance kits, training and online support to Pennsylvania municipalities to help them battle illegal dumping.
Illegal dumping is a state-wide concern, according to a recent study commissioned by Keep
Pennsylvania Beautiful (KPB), the state affiliate of Keep America Beautiful and sponsored by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Dumpsites can be found in every county – 6,500 at last count. Cleanups conducted by local municipalities are costly, averaging about $600 per ton, or roughly $3,000 per site, siphoning off tax dollars and staff resources.
“Those funds could be better spent elsewhere, such as parks, children’s or seniors’ programs, or community infrastructure,” says KPB President Shannon Reiter. “Pennsylvanians can no longer afford to continually clean up these sites.”
Developed by Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful and financially supported through a grant from DEP, surveillance kits will be available to be placed at undisclosed, active dumpsites.
The kits include three concealable, lockable cameras and accessories that capture usable, conviction-worthy footage of license plates and illegal dumpers – even at night. One camera uses wireless technology that can send pictures via text to a registered cellphone when triggered, providing almost instant results.
Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful will provide technical assistance for installation; municipalities will have the option of purchasing the equipment. A 2013 pilot program was instrumental in prosecution and convictions in Allegheny, Armstrong and Elk counties.
A web portal, www.IllegalDumpFreePA.org, explains the program in detail, and also allows members of the public to report an illegal dumpsite in their community.
In a public opinion poll Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful conducted with Penn State University, the majority of respondents stated that they believe fines and penalties levied on illegal dumpers should be used to clean up illegal dump sites, rather than public funds. Unfortunately, the evidence needed to assess fines and penalties was non-existent, difficult to obtain, or insufficient to support enforcement actions, until now.
“Cleanups, while necessary, simply absolve the dumpers of any responsibility,” adds Reiter. “This program provides the evidence needed to fully prosecute those committing this crime.”
IllegalDumpFreePA is one of the many resources Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful offers to reduce both the environmental and financial impacts of illegal dumping and littering. Other efforts include the Great American Cleanup of Pennsylvania, the Litter Free School Zone, and the Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful Adoption Program.
For more information or to report an illegal dumpsite, visit www.IllegalDumpFreePA.org.
About Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful
Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful’s mission is empowering Pennsylvanians to make our communities clean and beautiful. Since 1990, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful and its volunteers have removed over 111 million pounds of litter from Pennsylvania’s roadways, greenways, parks, forests, and waterways. To learn more about Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful, visit www.keeppabeautiful.org.
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For Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful
Shane M. Swisher
For PA Department of Environmental Protection