Everywhere you look there is a new health craze emerging. Whether it’s a new diet, new exercise routine, or newest food craze, being health conscious is on the minds of everyone. Staying healthy by getting exercise and going outdoors seems like a great idea. But think twice about this if you live near an illegal dumping site. Going outdoors could have the opposite effect and be doing more harm than good.

Illegal dumping is just what the name implies…illegal. Depositing waste in unauthorized locations poses serious health issues for adults and children alike. Children may mistake old appliances as a play house, potentially causing them to get trapped inside. Furthermore, protruding nails or sharp edges can cause infections or cuts for both adults and children. Most importantly, people may unknowingly be exposed to harmful toxins or chemicals.

Illegal dumping or littering is a threat to public health by attracting unwanted visitors. These sites can be a breeding ground for animals and insects that carry dangerous diseases. For example, scrap tires are ideal for mosquitoes. They breed 100 times faster than normal in warm, wet environments. These mosquitoes can carry life-threatening diseases such as Dengue Fever, Yellow Fever, Encephalitis, and malaria. Furthermore, there is also the potential for other insects or animals (i.e., rats, raccoons, skunks, etc.) to congregate and spread more health risks.

Hazardous materials such as broken glass and syringes can be among the waste materials. Broken glass has the potential to cause cuts, which could lead to more serious medical problems, such as infections. Old syringes can inadvertently poke animals and humans. This is very dangerous because the victim does not know what was in the syringe. It could have been harmful substances that are lethal when entered into the body.

The frequency of fires either through combustion or arson is more common at these dumping sites. The fires are dangerous for people living in the area and for the people who put out the flames. There is the potential that these sites can contain old flammable containers that can explode. Also, chemicals can give off toxic smoke that is detrimental to our health.

Some commonly dumped materials include items that are banned from landfills or lack of pick-up items such as yard waste, tires, appliances, car batteries. Construction demolition waste, abandoned vehicles, auto parts, furniture, household trash, and medical waste are frequently found at illegal dumping sites.

Dumping can occur for a multitude of reasons. The most common is that certain communities do not have trash/recycling pick up services. Therefore, the residents resort to vacated lots, abandoned buildings, or wooded areas to improperly dispose of the waste.

This practice causes a multitude of health and safety concerns for all. People can unknowingly get deadly diseases or serious infections that could have been avoided in the first place.
Most municipalities have facilities to drop off waste and recycling items. They are open to the public specific days and times.

If you are a resident of Cumberland County looking for a place to drop off waste, click here for a complete list of municipalities.

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