A recent survey by PestDude.com revealed that 10% of Pennsylvanians admit to illegally dumping their waste. But what exactly is illegal dumping? It refers to the practice of disposing of solid waste such as household trash, furniture, and construction debris on public or private property without permission. In this article, we’ll take a deeper dive into the survey findings and explore why illegal dumping is still an ongoing issue today.
Zachary Smith, owner of PestDude.com says: “Illegally dumped trash is a haven for all kinds of unwanted pests and vermin. Rats, mice, and cockroaches are some of the most common pests that are drawn to illegally dumped trash. These pests can breed and multiply quickly in the piles of garbage, leading to an infestation that can quickly spread to neighboring areas. Flies and other insects are also attracted to the rotting food and waste, which can cause not only a nuisance but also health hazards”
The Survey Findings in Detail
In total, the survey found that 10% of Pennsylvanians admitted to illegally dumping their waste within the last year. This was higher than the national average of 8%, but it was lower than other states such as Montana which had an admission rate of a whopping 38%. Colorado had the lowest admission rate at only 4%.
Illegal dumping is not only hazardous to wildlife, ecosystems, and local environments, but also costs taxpayers a large amount of money every year. In the PestDude.com study, 57% of illegally dumped items were identified as food waste, 17% as old mattresses, and 8% as TVs. Computers and furniture, washing machines, and fridges/freezers each account for 4%. What many people may not know is that much of this would have been able to be recycled or repurposed if the laws around illegal dumping had been followed. For example, old mattresses can be broken down into parts for insulation and padding when making other home goods, while computers contain valuable metals that can be recycled again and again. Recycling these items would not only reduce pollution, but it would also help sustainable development in the long run.
While it’s always unfortunate when the environment is violated this way, it appears that many are at least somewhat conscious of the harm that illegal dumping can do. According to recent data, 81% take the semi-honorable route by tossing their unwanted items into someone else’s dumpster, while only 9% are comfortable with openly littering a public space like a sidewalk or highway instead. A brave few have no remorse about polluting a river or lake with their garbage (4%), while a daring yet small 2% make their way into parking lots to get rid of their junk. Clearly, staying aware of these trends and ensuring proper disposal practices is key to stopping this serious issue.
Finally, the survey posed the question as to whether people would be willing to anonymously report it if they witnessed or discovered it. Unsurprisingly, 58% said they would take that step, however, there were also plenty of people who admitted to feeling afraid about being judged as a “snitch” or otherwise getting into trouble themselves. This illustrates that more needs to be done in order to better inform people about how ignoring this problem can damage both the surrounding environment and the overall health of our local communities. Going forward, it is essential for law enforcement and other municipal officials to initiate proactive educational campaigns and ensure citizens are aware of how important it is to address illegal dumping concerns.
In summary, this survey reveals that shockingly 10% of Pennsylvanians admit to illegally dumping their waste within the last year. The most commonly dumped items were food waste, furniture, computers, and appliances – many of which can be recycled or repurposed rather than thrown away. Finally, despite many not wanting to report a neighbor for illegally dumping due to fear of being labeled a snitch or getting into trouble themselves, it’s important for us all to remember that improper disposal of our own waste harms our environment and community overalls – so think twice before you throw something out!
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