YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – In 2014, more than 200 people were called to court by the Mahoning County Green Team for illegal dumping or littering.
Thursday, WKBN investigated how communities are fighting back against polluters.
John Horvath has to be careful when he walks his dogs every day.
“Always cars getting burned down here, hot cars, but the dumping has really gotten worse in the past year or so,” Horvath said.
The Mahoning County Green Team pays for a full-time litter officer. There’s plenty of work, with nearly a thousand complaints a year.
Sometimes dumpers make it easy for others to track them down.
Last week, WKBN reporter Amanda Smith was at Dudley and Atkinson in Youngstown on a different story, and some trash has accumulated there since the night of Friday, Sept. 18. In the trash, she found an invoice with someone’s name and address on it. When she went to the address, someone answered the door, saying that the person listed does not live there and didn’t know who dumped the trash.
Dumping is a problem in other areas too.
“It’s an abundance of trash. They load it up in trucks and look for a place that no one’s around and figure they can dump anywhere,” Coitsville Police Chief Michael Morris said.
Coitsville police put up signs and have extra patrols, and Morris said they’ve stopped the problem.
Mary Gresh with the Green Team said the county has started a new task force to target environmental crimes and make sure fines are steep.
“When you catch the people, if you give them a $20 fine, well that was pretty cheap to dump all that stuff,” Gresh said.