The Environmental Crimes Task Force (ECTF) is made up of representatives from the Franklin County Board of Health, Franklin County Prosecutor’s office, Franklin County Sheriff’s office and the City of Columbus Division of Refuse.
Littering and the illegal dumping of garbage and tires is a growing problem that presents serious environmental and public health concerns for the residents of Franklin County. Trash and tire piles present the ideal living and breeding environment for rats, mice and other rodents, ticks, flies and mosquitoes that, in many cases transmit disease. In addition, illegally dumped material presents the risk of physical injury resulting from contact with broken glass, sharp metal, biological and chemical waste.
Many materials that are illegally dumped contain toxic or hazardous substances that can threaten surface or groundwater supplies. Trash--and especially tires--that catch on fire cause air pollution that can harm the health of persons exposed to the fumes, and can also damage the environment. Decaying garbage and yard waste dumped in residential areas create unpleasant odors and can contribute to the impression that the entire neighborhood is in decline, thus negatively impacting property values. Research has shown that such conditions also lead to higher crime rates.
Open dumps are found along secondary roads, utility right-of-ways, water courses, on abandoned lots, in open fields, near construction sites, and along railroad tracks. Often the property owner is unaware that the dumping is occurring. However, the property owner is ultimately responsible for proper disposal of any solid waste deposited on his/her property.
You can help out when you see someone litter or illegally dump!
When you see someone litter or illegally dump, call 614-871-5322. Operators at the 24-hour-a-day service will take the information (time of day, make of vehicles, what was littered, etc.) and turn it over to The Franklin County Environmental Crimes Unit which is funded by SWACO. Those who litter will receive a letter reminding them of the penalties for littering if an officer had seen the incident. Those accused of illegal dumping could face prosecution.
The Environmental Crimes hotline and website (www.itsacrime.org) provides an opportunity for residents and businesses to report illegal dumping. The Environmental Crimes Unit will follow up and make every effort to prosecute the culprits.
For small investment of your time and energy, honor an individual or group with a sign (along a section of highway of your choosing) listing their name(s) as supporters of a litter-free highway.
Commit only a few hours, four times a year, to picking up litter and maintaining your adopted two mile stretch of highway. The program provides bags, vests, gloves for all volunteers. Prior to the clean up, call the government agency in which the road is located (city, village or township). Perform the cleanup, leave your bags on the side of the road and they will be picked up and disposed.
Your work is done!
For more information call: 614-871-5100.