Illegal dumping is costly for cities. Just ask officials in Dayton, Ohio, where cleaning up debris has cost more than $1 million over the past three years, according to a Dayton Daily News report.
The city already has 23 hidden surveillance cameras focused on the problem and the city's public works staff is adding another 18 to help identify and prosecute those responsible for dumping trash where they aren't supposed to.
The city started using the hidden cameras at dumping sites last year and the evidence they've collected has led to dozens of prosecutions, according to the Daily News report. The motion-activated cameras are mobile so they can be easily moved from site to site. And they work in the dark.
“It’s an ongoing battle,” Dayton Public Works Director Fred Stovall said. “We have seen some positive results: When we put cameras up, we do see less dumping at that particular site.”
The 18 new cameras will cost the city more than $14,000 – but that's relatively minor given the $522,350 Dayton reportedly spent last year cleaning up trash that was illegally dumped.
Dayton also encourages residents to report illegal dumping.
There's an app for that
Some cities use a mobile app called My Waste created by Municipal Media to encourage people to report illegal dumping. The app includes a look-up tool about recyclables and non-accepted waste and also a calendar that shows the customer's trash and recycling schedule, including holiday changes, brush and bulky dates, and other collection schedules. TrashOut is another citizen-reporting app available for Windows Phone and other platforms that allows users to locate and report illegal dumps in their neighborhood, city or anywhere else in the world. You can learn more about these apps and others in the Smart Cities Apps Gallery (a free, one-time registration is required to access the Gallery).