All posts by Barb Smerkar

More visitors means more trash, waste at area parks

The Times Tribune – SCRANTON — Lauren Holleran has regularly taken her dogs to the Lackawanna River Heritage Trail in Scranton over the past three years.

But in the past few weeks, the 55-year-old Green Ridge resident has noticed more than blossoming flowers and budding trees. She says others on the trail haven’t been conscientious about cleaning up after their canines.

“People are not picking up the poop, and that’s a bad thing,” she said. “It’s terrible because my dogs go right to it.”

A combination of warm weather and cabin fever because of stay-at-home orders from the governor has brought more people to area walking trails, but the influx of people means an increase in dog waste and other unsightly litter. The issue isn’t unique to the heritage trail, which stretches through Luzerne, Lackawanna, Susquehanna and Wayne counties.

Pennsylvania American Water announced plans to close part of the walking path around Lake Scranton starting Monday. A recent uptick in trail use has led to more litter along the trail and unsafe conditions for trail users and utility employees, according to a statement the utility company issued Friday.

Terry Brady, press secretary for the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, believes the increase in visitors and a decrease in staffing has led to some of the littering problems at parks across the state. He added that the littering issue seems to have gotten better in recent weeks.

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Illegal dumping on the rise during pandemic

The Bradford Era – As an unintended consequence of the coronavirus pandemic, state parks, state forests, game lands and communities are seeing an increase in littering, including personal protective equipment such as gloves, wipes, and masks as well as an increase of larger items being dumped.

If you come across an illegal dumpsite, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful wants you to report it as part of their Illegal Dump Free PA Program,

Dumpsite information will be logged and shared with local enforcement authorities, as well as local affiliates and state agency and other partners. Photos can be included in the report. Contact information of those reporting a site will be kept confidential. You can also report graffiti through this online form.

Many trash haulers have temporarily suspended recycling programs and large or bulky item pick-up because of worker safety and other limitations. Most, if not all bulky waste pick-ups and special collections of electronics, tires and appliances have been postponed until late summer or fall.

The increased litter and dumping puts an undue strain on the already reduced staff at state and municipal parks and recreation departments across the state. Responding to and cleaning up illegally dumped trash is taking up valuable time and resources that could be put to much better use during the COVID-19 crisis.

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A happy ending in story of elderly couple who were victims of illegal dumpers

The Morning Call -A lot of people were outraged last week when I wrote about the plight of an elderly Upper Macungie couple who repeatedly have been victims of illegal dumping. Scott Clark was among them. And he was in a position to do something about it.  Clark owns Dr. Clutter, an Allentown moving and junk removal company. Early Wednesday morning, he and three of his employees drove two trucks to Will Mayo’s property, a wooded lot on Reppert Lane. Months ago, some degenerate dropped there a load of soggy furniture and assorted nastiness in the middle of the night.

Keep PA Beautiful: Illegal Dumping Caught In Dauphin County; Free Surveillance Camera Loan Program Available

PA Environment Digest Blog -Cameras made available through the Keep PA Beautiful Surveillance Camera Loan Program caught illegal dumping of electronics waste as it happened at a Recycling Center in Millersburg Borough, Dauphin County.

The perpetrators were caught and cited for illegal dumping and were ordered to pay a fine and restitution.
Leaving items at recycling facilities that are not accepted is considered theft of service or illegal dumping.
Illegal dumping is not only encourages more dumping and is detrimental to the environment. It also imposes a financial burden on our local municipalities, as they are often the ones left to clean up the mess.
(Photo: Actual surveillance photo.)

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Cameras Catch Illegal Dumping at Recycling Center in Millersburg Borough, Dauphin County

(January 28, 2020) – Leaving items at recycling facilities that are not accepted is considered theft of service or illegal dumping. Illegal dumping not only encourages more dumping and is detrimental to the environment, but it also brings a financial burden to our local municipalities, as they are often the ones left to clean up the mess. In turn, this costs taxpayers money. Non-acceptable items also cause additional work for employees and can potentially contaminate other materials. This contamination can make otherwise appropriate items now unacceptable for recycling, thereby reducing revenue for the municipality. Many drop off centers across the state have been forced to close due to illegal dumping, impacting services for all who rely on that facility.

Cameras installed through the Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful camera loan program recently captured someone illegally dumping several pieces of electronics at a Millersburg Borough recycling center in Dauphin County. They were cited for illegal dumping and were ordered to pay a fine and restitution. This restitution helps offset the price the municipality, and by extension taxpayers, pay to properly dispose of what dumpers have left.

In Dauphin County, many unwanted electronics can be taken to the Dauphin County Recycling Center. There are small fees for some items, but most are free. This facility is open to Dauphin County residents, businesses, institutions, and local governments. To find a recycling facility near you, contact your county recycling coordinator or visit the PA Department of Environmental Protection’s page on electronic recycling for consumers. However, before taking items to any location, it’s best to contact them in advance to verify what they accept.

Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful has worked with the Borough of Millersburg for almost 4 years through the Illegal Dump Free PA surveillance camera loan program. This fruitful partnership has resulted in seven successful prosecutions resulting in over $3000 collected in fines and costs. However, only a small portion of those fines and costs were held locally to cover municipal costs. The program is open to municipalities, counties, government agencies, as well as non-profit organizations. The grant includes the loan of a set of three high quality, motion activated, covert security cameras that provide instant wireless transmission of site activity, photo documentation of license plates at speeds of up to 50 MPH, and clear photos of activity day or night, which are key to prosecutions. Visit or contact Rob Dubas at to find out more.

About Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful

Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful’s mission is empowering Pennsylvanians to make our communities clean and beautiful. Since 1990, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful and its volunteers have removed over 141 million pounds of litter from Pennsylvania’s roadways, greenways, parks, forests, and waterways. To learn more about Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful, visit

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‘We will catch you’: Michaux cameras focus on illegal dumping

ABC 27 News -FAYETTEVILLE, Pa. (WHTM) – Michaux State Forest has been plagued by illegal dumping for decades, but patrolling the land for those responsible has been a struggle — until now. Cameras have been placed to catch the criminals in the act. Assistant forest manager Michelle Blevins says photos of license plates and faces will provide the evidence they need to file charges, and officials get help identifying suspects when the photos are posted to social media.

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Study shows Pa. residents hoarding, illegally dumping

The Bradford Era – A survey of 7,000 American hoarders, conducted recently by Servicemaster of Lake Shore, Ill., determined that the average person hoards a lot of stuff, and from there illegal dumping becomes an issue. The cleaning and restoration service company found that US residents are hoarding almost $50 billion worth of unused goods, which is on average the equivalent of $390.16 per household. In Pennsylvania, it was found that people are hoarding $394.74 worth of items per household, which is the equivalent of $1.9 billion worth overall in the state. Additionally, a whopping 76% of Pennsylvanians admit that their unused goods are a fire hazard.

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Illegal dumping focus of forest campaign – FAYETTEVILLE — One of the most beautiful assets our region has is Michaux State Forest. Located along Route 233 between South Mountain and Pine Grove Furnace, the land offers recreation and wooded respite from the trappings of urban and suburban life. But the forested region also harbors a dirty little secret: trash. “Illegal dumping is a serious problem,” said Michaux State Forest Ranger Todd Ottinger.

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Don’t look now, but Fawn is keeping an eye on illegal dumping

Trib Live -Fawn Township is about to go high-tech in trying to combat illegal dumping in the township. The township will employ cameras at one of several locations throughout the community where dumping has occurred, according to supervisors Chairman David Montanari and Township Secretary Pam Ponsart. Ponsart said the set of three cameras was made available to the township by Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful, the state affiliate of Keep America Beautiful. The organizations are volunteer-based groups dedicated to improving the environment and quality of life throughout the state and the country.

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