Down in the dumps: Poconos seeing rash of illegal dumping

Pocono Record -Despite the stay-at-home order that has kept Pennsylvanians cooped up for the past month, reports of littering and illegal dumping have increased drastically across the commonwealth, including Monroe County.

Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful announced last week that since the start of Governor Tom Wolf’s stay at home order on April 1, over 73 incidents of illegal dumpsites across 35 counties have been reported, making up 70% of the year’s total reports in just a month.

According to program director Rob Dubas, by Friday another two incidents had been noted, and more reports were expected over the weekend.

With this leap in littering, many Pennsylvania authorities are looking for answers as to how and why this is happening, and what can be done to tidy up the trash.

LOTS OF LITTER

Dubas and other members of Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful speculate that the reduction or suspension of trash and recycling collection services during the COVID-19 pandemic may be partially to blame for the problem.

Household trash is the most frequently reported item at 47 sites, followed by tires at 31 sites.

Bulk waste pickups and special collections for appliances, electronics and buildings supplies — such as demolition and construction waste — which have been pushed off until late summer or fall also add to the issue.

Staff cuts at state parks, forests and game lands — which saw about 14% of the total illegal dumping reports — may contribute to the problem as well.

“It’s been quite the increase,” Dubas said in regard to the uptick in reports. “I think part of that is people are getting out there more and promoting the reporting form, but local trail managers have been telling us that they’ve been seeing an increase in littering in parks, too.”

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