Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful’s Surveillance Cameras Catch Illegal Dumping in Michaux State Forest, Franklin County

(December 17, 2020) Cameras installed through the Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful Illegal Dump Free PA surveillance camera loan program recently captured a couple illegally dumping a couch in Michaux State Forest in Franklin County. They were cited for illegal dumping and were each ordered to pay a $150 fine plus court fees, and perform ten hours of community service. This community service helps give something back to the community who are the ones who suffer most from illegal dumping and littering.

Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful currently has ten sets of cameras at various dumping hot spots and recycling facilities across the state. So far this year, there were nine convictions as a direct result of the surveillance cameras installed as part of the organization’s Illegal Dump Free PA program. One additional case resulted in community service instead of a citation. An additional ten cases are pending.

Illegal dumping not only encourages more dumping and is damaging to the environment, but it brings a financial burden to our local municipalities, as they are often the ones left to clean up the mess. It is also considered illegal dumping, or theft of service, to leave items at recycling facilities that are not accepted as part of their program. Leaving non-acceptable items causes additional work for employees and can potentially contaminate other materials. Contamination can make otherwise appropriate items unacceptable for recycling, thereby reducing revenue for the municipality. Over the past few years, many drop off centers across the state have been forced to close due to illegal dumping, impacting services for all who rely on that facility.

Illegal Dump Free PA also offers an option to report illegal dumping. In 2020, the number of illegal dumps reported increased by a huge 212% over last year. The increase in dumping could be a result of temporary suspension of trash hauling, recycling services and special collections of electronics, tires and appliances in the spring and early summer due to the novel coronavirus (Covid 19). It could also be a result of more people spending time outdoors and visiting remote areas, where dumping is more likely to occur. The reports identified illegal dumpsites in 50 of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties. Nineteen sites are located on state park, state forest, or game lands. Household trash was the most commonly reported item found at 71% of sites, followed by building materials from renovations and constructions (42%), and vehicle tires (41%).

Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful’s Illegal Dump Free PA program is open to municipalities, counties, government agencies, as well as non-profit organizations. The grant includes the loan of a set of three high quality, motion activated, covert security cameras that provide instant wireless transmission of site activity, photo documentation of license plates at speeds of up to 50 MPH, and clear photos of activity day or night, which are key to prosecutions. To learn more, visit keeppabeautiful.org and choose Keep It or contact Rob Dubas at rdubas@keeppabeautiful.org.

Before taking items to any recycling drop-off location, it is best to contact them in advance to verify what is accepted. Visit PA Department of Environmental Protection’s website for a list of county Recycling Coordinators to learn about recycling in your county.

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About Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful

Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful’s vision is a clean and beautiful Pennsylvania. Since 1990, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful has worked with hundreds of thousands of volunteers across the state to pick up nearly 147 million pounds of trash from Pennsylvania’s roadways, waterways, greenways, vacant lots, forestlands and other community spaces. Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful’s core programming focuses on litter and illegal dump prevention, cleanup, community greening, and proper waste handling and sustainable practices.  Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful works with many partnering organizations on the state and grassroots level to accomplish our goal of a clean and beautiful Pennsylvania.  Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful is the state affiliate of Keep America Beautiful, Inc., the nation’s largest volunteer-based community action and education organization. To learn more about Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful, visit www.keeppabeautiful.org.

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