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Pennsylvania sees rise in illegal dumping during pandemic

The average cost to clean and dispose of these items is 614 dollars per ton of waste.
Credit: wpmt

YORK, Pa. — In 2020, dump sites across Pennsylvania went up about 213% according to Robert Dubas from Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful.

"These are dump sites recorded by residents. these are not a scientific survey," said Dubas.

Dubas says the pandemic might be part of the reason for the rise in illegal dumping.

"With people being home more often they might have decided to clean up the shed in the backyard or the garage and now they got a bunch of old tires and don’t know how to dispose of them," said Dubas.

The average cost to clean and dispose of these items is 614 dollars per ton of waste.

A report conducted by keep Pennsylvania beautiful in 2019 showed that about 9 cities in the commonwealth spend 68 million per year. 

The hope is that through education, the amount of waste that is dumped can be minimized.

"There is a strong correlation between educating and seeing the result that we need to keep Pennsylvania a beautiful environment and a healthy environment," said Jamar Thrasher from The Department of Environmental Protection.

Jamar Thrasher from The Department of Environmental Protection says the effects are extremely harmful for the environment and the communities that live in it.

"Land pollution, water pollution is unsightly, so what happens is it causes blight in communities and that also leads to a decrease in property values," said Thrasher.

His goal is to have a Pennsylvania free of trash, litter and other debris.

"So that Pennsylvania remains a beautiful environment for residents and visitors alike," said Thrasher. 

The organization also has an event called 'Pick Up Pennsylvania' that  is part of the national Great American Cleanup from March 1st through May 31st. Communities are being asked to organize and conduct local cleanups, recruit volunteers, promote your event, and report your results for inclusion in statewide and national cleanup totals.

PennDOT’s county offices will provide free cleanup supplies, including gloves, safety vests and trash bags to registered cleanup groups, as supplies last.

Also, from April 1st to April 30th, registered events have access to free or reduced cost disposal at participating landfills for the trash collected at events.

Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful dumpsite reports:


The organizations dumpsite reporting form:


Summary of dumping/littering laws:


Pick Up Pennsylvania Program:


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