Illegal dumping (aka fly tipping) is a burning issue all around the world. People or companies who dispose of waste in unauthorized areas cause harm for private and state properties in multiple countries.
Waste can be any type of discarded material such as construction and industrial waste but is can also involve hazardous material such as chemical waste. Illegal dumping perpetrators are using private and state owned areas such as forests, farms, river banks and other off-the-road sites to dispose of waste. Fly tipping causes a considerable financial loss for private property owners and state authorities that need to dispose of the discarded waste. In some cases illegal dumping can lead to even more dire results. Pollution of natural sites or water resources due to illegal chemical waste dumping can result in long-term harm of the natural site’s grounds, flora and fauna. In the event that the waste affects water and food resources used by humans, it may even lead to illness and fatalities.
What can be done about Illegal Dumping (fly tipping)?
Let’s review a few technological solutions to illegal dumping used by state authorities and private properties owners. People who go after the criminals who discard of waste illegally have three main goals, the first is to collect evidence against the culprits, the second is to catch them red-handed, and the third is to prevent future illegal dumping. Here we’ll focus on the first two: collecting evidence against the perpetrators and catching them red-handed.
Collecting Evidence of Illegal Dumping by Using Movement-Activated Cameras
In order to collect evidence of illegal dumping, most authorities and private properties owners use cameras. These cameras are placed on sites that were used in the past to discard waste illegally. Wireless cameras that are operated on batteries are usually used since they are more discrete and can be placed almost everywhere without the constraints of existing powerlines. This is a useful solution but it has three major disadvantages:
- Offenders might not come back to the exact same spot, but may choose a close-by location that the cameras don’t cover.
- Maintenance of the cameras might become an issue. There are plenty of battery-operated cameras out there that can be placed in a number of remote locations. However, the operator will have to know when to operate these cameras or keep them running all the time, which means that the batteries will be changed every couple of days or so.
In addition, there is a need for personnel to monitor the cameras for any suspicious movements.
- Environmental conditions such as fog or rain may harm the images.
The solution is to use a movement activated camera aka sensor-activated camera.
What is a movement-activated camera?
The camera is constantly on “on hold” state and it’s activated once the underground sensors detect on-ground and sometimes underground movement. They can detect movements of objects such as people and vehicles and can automatically operate the cameras on site. The footage can be saved on an SD card, or stored on a cloud services.
This is a very popular solution with private property and law enforcement agencies alike since it’s very easy to install, it brings good results and it’s relatively cheap. The cost of the camera and sensors starts under USD 3,000 for an area of a few square meters (a few thousands sq. ft.), and the price increases depends on the size of the area that will be covered.
Read more about sensor operated systems
Collecting and using evidence of fly tipping is only a part of the equation. After all, the real challenge is to catch the criminals who do it.
This the best feature of sensor-activated systems. Just like the sensors can operate cameras, they can also ‘switch on’ other devices, depending on the system they are connected to. The sensor system can raise an alarm, contact the legal law-enforcement agency, send a text-message to a mobile phone, and more.
In state-run nature reserve when there are limited resources and only one or two vehicles that drive around hoping to catch illegal dumping. The sensor-activated system will let the inspectors know of any unauthorized movements which enables the teams to interrupt the illegal activity and in some cases arrest the perpetrators red-handed.
Illegal waste dumping is a worldwide problem; however, due to new technology law enforcement agencies, companies and private property owners find new ways to protect their land and assets.
Read more about sensor operated systems