Pollution of the environment and surroundings has become a major issue over the last century. The main causes behind the issue are perceived to be a rise in population, poor management of civic infrastructure and most importantly, lack of conscious collective effort to abstain from malpractices which lead to environmental pollution . In most cases, it has been seen that the effective treatment and disposal of waste is avoided to save time and monetary resources, which accumulate to affect the environment and society in a major manner . Many experts are of the opinion that heavy industrialization and commercialization are to be blamed for the increasing threat of environmental pollution around the world. Others believe that individually, one should be committed to keeping the environment free from pollution and thereby influence others to contribute to the cause. One particular instance of disregard for the environment is fly tipping. Fly tipping has become a major problem in many developed and developing nations around the world and is characterized by the illegal dumping waste in the surroundings, instead of responsibly disposing waste in designated or authorized garbage dump . Fly tipping is a major challenge as far as addressing environmental pollution is concerned. What makes the issue even more urgent is that it influences others to act in a similar, irresponsive manner and can influence households, neighborhoods, and is very much a catalyst in environmental pollution through illegal disposal of waste and contamination of the environment.
Environmental pollution issue – Fly Tipping
Fly tipping is the term used to describe the situation whereby households and often even organizations resort to the unlawful practice of dumping waste on vacant land in the vicinity or locality. The most common observations in this regard has been that households resort to packing all the waste in disposable bags and thereby illegally disposing the waste on a piece of land, which in almost all cases is not occupied by anyone. Construction materials, which are disposed off after a construction project are also the most common constituent waste in case of fly tipping . First world countries such as USA and UK and even Canada are faced with this challenge which not only leads to environmental pollution, but also expenditure by the governments in millions to clear and reverse the adverse impacts . Not only does fly tipping raise economic and health concerns, but the same often led to the social deterioration and decline in popularity of a certain locality as well. Along with damaging the environment, fly tipping also endangers human and wildlife in the area and creates a very disturbing visual impression of the countryside . The term is derived from the fact that in most cases, the waste is dumped off from a vehicle in a plot of land where it happens to pass by driven by perpetrators. In many countries, taxes are levied on the excess waste generated by households and to avoid this expense, people are reported to resort to this unlawful practice.
It needs to be highlighted that in most of the cases, people do not even care to separate bio-degradable and non bio-degradable waste which leads to pollution and significantly raise health risks. Recently, the news about the pictures of fly tipping in Cory’s Wharf, Essex (UK) have brought the issue to limelight as pictures showing expanse of more than a mile filled with littered waste. What is even more disturbing is the fact that in many instances it has been found that such wastes contain toxic chemicals and even used syringes, which puts healthy and safety of people at risk. In many cases it has also been found that vacant land owned by private or public entities had to bear huge expenses in order to clear waste dumped illegally on their vacant properties even when the misdemeanor was carried out by someone else . The most common aftermaths of such practices are increased risk to health and safety of residents in surrounding areas, heavy increase in spending public money in clearing out such illegal landfills and more importantly, decreased economic attractiveness of the area due to pollution . In the wake of such incidents, many steps have been taken by government authorities in order to curb the increasing malpractice.
Managing the challenge of Fly Tipping
It has been highlighted by many that governments in such countries have taken strict steps to control the menace of this form of environmental pollution. For instance, in the United Kingdom, fly tipping invites heavy penalties and even imprisonment. If found guilty of fly tipping the accused can be penalized with a fine of £20,000 and can also face prison term of 6 months . In instances where the case goes to Crown Courts, the imprisonment and fines are much higher. For dumping of hazardous chemicals and waste, people may face up to five years in prison. At the same time, of caught by authorities, the vehicles used for dumping waste can be confiscated as well. It has also come to the authorities in countries like UK that organizations often engage in the fraudulent practice of collecting waste from households at a price with the promise of correct disposal, but end up dumping waste illegally. In such cases of misconduct, the government has also introduced strict laws of penalization. Apart from introducing strict laws, countries such as UK have incurred heavy expenses on meeting the challenge of fly tipping. An estimated £73 million was spent in the year 2005-2006 to clear waste dumped illegally in landfills. During the same period, an estimated £47 million was spent on clearing illegally dumped waste from agricultural lands. In spite of the best efforts, it has been stated that 1 out of every 1460 fly tippers are apprehended and punished in reality , which perhaps provides the answer as to why is the practice so rampant in developed nations. As a result, it is strongly felt that monitoring such activities is the first and foremost requirement to change the situation.
Suggested improvements and changes to management of Fly Tipping
Globally, supervision and monitoring are highly important in order to control instances of fly tipping. To prevent fly tipping, stringent observations need to be carried out and municipal efforts need to be stepped up. For example, desolate stretches of land need to be brought under CCTV surveillance in order to capture culprits on tape and also gather evidence. Vehicle registration plates will also help in identifying and producing evidence of violators of the rule. One way of reducing fly tipping from households is to ensure timely collection of wastes from neighborhoods by designated civic waste collecting vans patrolling residential areas at a fixed time. Surveillance is one of the most effective options that can be introduced to ensure that instances of fly tipping are reduced and violators are prosecuted. Stretches of land susceptible to fly tipping like the Cory’s Wharf need to be made no parking zones and guarded by policemen or civic authorities to ensure vehicles do not stop at these areas, neither are people able to toss waste bags from their bags. Governments spend millions on clearing and cleaning of affected areas. This can also be reduced is the taxes levied on the household waste is reduced, which might ensure that the people would be more likely to dispose waste in the proper manner. To reduce fly tipping from construction companies and other form of industrial establishments need to be monitored more effectively. One such step can be to make it mandatory for such establishments to dispose waste in the presence of civic authorities.
Above all, awareness and concern for the environment need to be enhanced among residents.
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DEFRA. Fly Tipping in England. 11 October 2014. Online. 1 December 2014. <https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/368513/Flycapture_201314_Statistical_Release_FINAL__2_.pdf>.
Eccleston, P. Litter and Fly-Tipping Facts. 16 April 2008. Online. 1 December 2014. <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/3339655/Litter-and-fly-tipping-facts.html>.