GREENSBORO, N.C. — Illegal dumping has become a bit of a problem in the city of Greensboro, and back in July, city council passed an ordinance cracking down on dumpers.
There’s just one problem – it hasn’t really had any effect.
“They didn’t stop dumping, they’re just getting more savvy with it,” Street Cleaning Supervisor William Brown said.
What You Need to Know
- Greensboro installed cameras to catch illegal dumpers back in July
- They have yet to catch anyone
- Dumpers have gotten clever, putting their junk out of view of the cameras
The new ordinance made it a civil penalty to dump, as opposed to a criminal penalty. This allows the city to enforce the rule, as opposed to just law enforcement. The city decided to install cameras to try and identify illegal dumpers, but it hasn’t caught anyone using them.
“They’ll dump beside the camera, behind the camera, anywhere but where the camera is,” Brown said.
He’s been in the same department since he began working with the city 25 years ago. Keeping the city clean is personal to him.
“It’s unsightly,” Brown said. “It’s a nuisance.”
He looks at thousands of images the camera shoots to see if he can identify someone, but dumpers are clever.
“Here goes the camera, and now they’re dumping like right beside it,” he said, gesturing to a pile that was just out of reach of the camera’s view.
Most of the junk isn’t unique.
“All this debris right here is stuff that would be picked up,” Brown said, showing us a pile of mattresses, carpet and wood. “If the wood was stacked like it was supposed to be picked up, the carpet rolled up, cut to length and everything, they would pick it up on a normal trash day. Regular household items.”
Maybe it’s just to avoid the $10-per-trip fee the city charges for the dump.
But $10 is a far cry from the $500 you’re hit with for dumping.
“Just as hard as we work to keep the City of Greensboro clean, it’s somebody that’s going to try to get over or try to take a shortcut,” Brown said. “Never-ending battle.”
He said he isn’t sure what the solution is, whether it’s more cameras, heavier fines or something else. For now, the city fines first-time dumpers $500 and repeat offenders $1,000.