Illegal Dumping & Litter

Litter is an important environmental issue.  It is amazing that 94% of people identify litter as a major environmental problem and yet people still litter.  Carelessly discarded garbage affects every member of society: it causes harm to people and animals, damages our waterways, cost us money and suggests that we do not care for our environment.  Fortunately, we can all do something to help prevent and reduce litter.

Why Do People Litter?
Research and experience have shown that litter is the result of individual behavior—choosing to litter or being careless in the handling of waste.  And once litter is on the ground, it attracts more litter.  A clean community, by contrast, can discourage littering and improve community appearance and quality of life.

Ten Primary Sources of Litter:

  1. Pedestrians dropping garbage in streets and roadways.
  2. Motorists discarding garbage out of their vehicle windows.
  3. Uncovered loads.  Items that are not secure can easily be blown out of trucks and cause roadside littering.
  4. Household refuse disposal and collection.  Animal scavengers and the wind can dislodge unsecured items placed out on the corner for collections.  Litter can also result from overloading trash containers.
  5. Commercial refuse and disposal.  Poorly secured commercial refuse can easily become litter.
  6. Construction projects.  Litter can come from uncontrolled building waste and workers’ lunchtime refuse.
  7. People at leisure
  8. Entertainment events.  Events create a large amount of litter, which can overflow onto neighboring areas when measures to cont it are not carefully planned.
  9. Illegal dumping.
  10. Intentional or habitual littering, for reasons such as laziness or acts of rebellions.

What Are The Effects of Litter?
Litter can cause a whole range of problems for everyone in our communities.  Litter discarded in streets and parks can travel through the storm water system to our rivers and creeks, where it can cause harm to wildlife.

  • Litter costs money.  Removing litter from the environment costs everyone money.
  • Litter is a threat to public health.  Litter attracts vermin and is a breeding ground for bacteria.  Items such as broken glass and syringes can be a health hazard in public places.
  • Litter can be a fire hazard.  Accumulated litter and careless discarded cigarette butts are potential fire hazards.
  • Litter looks bad.  Litter negatively affects the image of places, especially the appearance of communities.
  • Litter attracts litter.  Litter sends out a message that people do not care about their area and that it is acceptable to litter.

Ohio Litter Laws:
Under Ohio law, litter is any trash thrown, discarded or dropped by a person onto public property, private property not owned by the individual, or into Ohio’s waterways. The Ohio Revised Code prohibits littering, regardless of whether or not it was intentional. Numerous laws prohibit littering and illegal dumping.  Littering is a serious offense, punishable by fines of up to $500 and 60 days in jail.

There are many kinds of littering offenses.  Code violations include:

  • Littering and Illegal Dumping- ORC 3767.32
  • Littering from a Motor Vehicle- ORC 4511.82
  • Littering from a Watercraft Vessel-ORC 1547.49
  • Unsecured Load – ORC 4513.31