Illegal dumping refers to any form of indecent disposal of this waste material. Disposal of waste becomes improper when done in a place that is not legitimate, like a landfill. Illegal dumping occurs in open places including road sides, rivers, lakes and state parks. This kind of dumping poses a risk to human health and the environment, and involves non-hazardous material, which is dumped by persons who do not wish to dispose properly, or pay the disposal fee.
All industries generate wastes that are usually hazardous. The improper disposal of hazardous wastes is harmful to the environment, in that it contaminates ground and surface water supplies. This leads to contamination of drinking water, which is harmful to both human health and aquatic life. Research has indicated that some health problems can be magnified by environmental pollution. Such health problems include brain disorder for children, autism, prostate cancer and breast cancer.
Illegal dumping occurs in places that are accessible to people including children, which increases the risk of harm, from contact with the chemicals. Industries are blamed for threatening the environment and causing harm to lives through their improper disposal of dangerous chemicals, and many people believe that they should be made accountable.
One of the problems with illegal dumping is the blockage of run-off water in the event of heavy downpour. This may result to flooding, due to blocked drainage channels. On the other hand, if the water were to pass through the waste, it would contaminate the waterways, posing great harm to the health of humans with access to such water. In addition to this, some solid wastes trap water, which becomes a breeding ground for mosquitoes, therefore increasing the health risk.
One of the consequences of illegal dumping is the loss of aesthetic value of a community. This in turn causes a reduction in the cost of property, as well as reduced community pride and revenue. Revenue is lost since improperly disposed wastes cannot be sorted for recycling, and all the waste ends up being dumped in a land fill. This way, revenue could be generated in recycling, and no expense would be incurred in proper disposal of the wastes.
Industries that do not dispose their wastes properly are fined, though this is inadequate in solving the problem. Most of these companies prefer to pay the fine as opposed to using the services of industrial cleaning services providers.
Illegal dumpers can be prosecuted by the state through either the Solid Waste Policy and Management Act, or the Litter Control Act. The Department of Health and Environmental Control is also involved in investigating open damping, where the penalty can be a fine or jail sentence. The cleaning up of these sites is charged to the perpetrator or owner of the property.
Sensitizing the companies to the environment is one approach that can help reduce improper damping of hazardous wastes. Through this, the companies can be encouraged to adopt the services of companies that specialize in disposal of environmental hazardous wastes. The sensitizing is meant to enable these companies to overlook the huge cost of proper and legal disposal methods, in return for preserving the environment, and preserving human life.
Illegal dumping is not only by industries, but also in communities. Educating the community and enforcement of regulations can help to reduce improper disposal of rubbish. Councils on the other hand can introduce scheduled clean-ups and waste disposal facilities for residents to dispose of unwanted materials.