Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Christwitz: Thoughts on how to prevent illegal dumping

“Why did you dump tons of garbage east of Pomo School in Clearlake and what, if anything, would persuade you to dump at the landfill?”

On Saturday, April 28, I asked the above questions as I joined a band of others cleaning up the illegal dumpsite.

Are there solutions, or will residents of Clearlake simply continue to divide between the cleaners and the dumpers?  Below is my brainstorm for possible ideas that could help. What else?

1. A garbage club hotline for people who need to dump NOW can request a free dump pass, if necessary, and even receive transportation. Such a hotline could be funded through a special grant if such a grant existed.

2.  Posting guards and/or surveillance cameras. Perhaps a homeless person or two could make camp to help guard the area, paying them for valid information on illegal dumps,

3. Secure fencing to prevent access to vacant lot areas (good luck).

4. Deposits at time of purchase on appliances and electronics. The deposits can be refunded when the items are brought to the landfill as garbage,  similar to when people are paid for recycling California redemption items.

5. Pay private hired haulers only after the hauler has produced the receipt from the landfill.  This prevents haulers from dumping illegally and pocketing the money which was to have gone to the landfill

6. Write grants to employ local youth to help clean up our city. This would include returning shopping carts which are taken from the stores.

7. Reduced landfill fees for low-income people. (Three adult students called the fees “outrageous.”)  

For the past few days my husband, Bandit the cat, and I have walked the area we helped reclaim. The manzanitas and scrub oaks seem to be joyously breathing freely there at the foot of Mt. Baldy under the azure sky.

I hope we as a community can preserve this piece of paradise.

Barbara Christwitz lives in Clearlake, Calif.

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