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Illegal Dumping: No Way to Celebrate Earth Day

April 20, 2010

DES MOINES, Iowa - With Earth Day 2010 coming up this week, everything from tires to appliances can be found dumped illegally across Iowa, and the cost to taxpayers for the clean-up can run into the millions of dollars.

Tom Hadden, executive director of Metro Waste Authority, says there is no excuse for using Iowa's roads, parks or rivers as landfills.

"Household hazardous waste stuff can be disposed of across the state; there's many places that accept it, appliances are recycled, all of it can be disposed of properly, and that's just the right thing to do. "

He says that, in addition to the cost, illegal dumping means damage to the environment and public health.

"If they throw like anti-freeze and oil or things that could get into the groundwater or chemicals that would leach into the groundwater, that would probably be the worst."

He recommends that anyone who sees a possibly-illegal dump site report it. If the area is prone to dumping, Metro Waste Authority and Keep Iowa Beautiful jointly operate a video surveillance program to loan out cameras to local law enforcement to catch illegal dumpers.

Around the state there are events to pick up trash. In Des Moines, Metro Waste Authority is co-sponsoring a citywide trash pick-up followed by a free concert for volunteers on Thursday, April 22.

Dick Layman, Public News Service - IA