Years ago, I asked a one of our state legislators why the fines for illegal dumping were so cheap. His reply sort of irritated me when he said, “Because the people could not afford to pay more.” That really struck me at that time as a rather dumb answer.
Since then the fines have been upped somewhat but nowhere near as high as they should be. I’m for a minimum fine of $500 and if they cannot afford to pay it after buying a carton of cigarettes for $80 bucks or more then let them work the fine off by picking up trash on the very city and state roads they like to dump their garbage on.
Did you ever wonder what these secretive trash dumpers reaction would be if they were to wake up one morning and find bags of household trash, lawn clippings, old furniture, brush, construction refuse just to name a few, items on their own pristine lawns and gardens?
I bet every one of them would be irate, and p.o.’d enough to call the police or some town official to take action against someone who would do such a terrible thing. Yet they have no qualms about doing the dirty dumping themselves.
It is usually done under the cloak of darkness. I would imagine this is because they are ashamed of what they are doing, yet you can see the results of this on just about any country and back road in our area. Sometimes even in our parks.
Many years ago, a friend of my father who will remain nameless borrowed a pickup truck from the company he was working for and headed down to the shore. This was back in the day when farms were numerous. I guess the guy had a couple of cold beers with him while he was driving and when he finished downing the cold brew he chucked the can out of the window of the pickup truck, never giving it any further thought.
The next day, a state police officer showed up at his place of employment and asked the owner if anyone there had used the truck the previous day. The owner pointed out my dad’s buddy and the officer came over to him and asked if he had the truck the day before and he answered in the affirmative.
The officer then asked him if he had thrown an empty beer can out of the truck while in a certain area and he said he didn’t remember. The officer politely informed him that the truck had the company name on it and the farmer who owned the land where he threw the can witnessed him doing so and took down the name on the truck.
Once it was settled that the gent had indeed thrown an empty beer can out of the truck, the officer asked the owner of the business if he could have some time with his employee and the pickup truck. He owner agreed and off they went to the area where he threw out the can.
The police officer then told the gent that he was to police both sides of the road for a half-mile each side of the farm. He did so and even after he was done picking up any of the trash, the farmer still wanted to have him arrested. The police officer talked the farmer out of it, but my dad’s buddy learned a lesson that he never forgot.
One has to wonder, what possesses an individual to even do such unlawful dumping. You don’t have to look too far to see evidence of this unlawful behavior.
The Meriden Rod & Gun Club does twice yearly trash pickups on areas they are allowed to hunt and you would be amazed, or should I say “dismayed” at the refuse these lawbreakers leave when they do their dirty work.
One year we were cleaning up the Broad Brook area when we came upon a bag full of soiled disposable diapers. This was in a watershed where we all, including the person that dumped the diapers, get our drinking water.
Many years ago, I had to make a trip down to Wallingford from my apartment in South Meriden.
I used the dump/airport road and it was snowing when I went to Wallingford. On my return trip back to my apartment, I saw fresh tire tracks in the snow and a couple bags of household trash on the side of the road.
I pulled over and went through the bags and found evidence on whose garbage it was. I then called the owner of the discarded refuse and the gent was very apologetic. He said that one of his relatives offered to get rid of the bags for him and he did not know this was what he had in mind. The guy came down to the site of the trash bags and picked them up. I have no idea what he might have said to the “volunteer” dumper.
As I said earlier, you do not have to look too far to see signs of illegal dumping. Probably the worst offenders are the ones that deposit their junk furniture at spots that collect used clothing to be recycled. Most of the furniture that is left there is soiled beyond use or gets rained on and then is useless.
And just last week I saw some dumping that really riled me up. The upper parking lot on the Q-Gorge Trail (Sindal Road/Finch Ave ext.) had a discarded bed set including a box spring, mattress and headboard. Whoever did it should be ashamed of themselves but in this day and age I guess anything goes! But what the heck, it’s illegal to text and talk on a cellphone while driving, but I see it every day. It is also illegal to make a right turn at an intersection that says, “NO TURN ON RED”, but I see that almost every day.
And one more thing regarding leaving roadside and parking lot garbage for someone else to clean up just take a ride to some of our parks on a Monday. A couple of months ago, I was at Beavers (site of the new City of Meriden Dog Park) and two young girls were sitting in a car enjoying a fast food lunch. When they were through, one of them opened the car door and put the cups they were drinking out of on the parking lot pavement and started to drive off.
I asked them to take their trash with them and they grudgingly picked up the cups, but had the “last laugh” when they stopped and threw the stuff on the pavement before driving off. One has to wonder what they will be like when they reach adulthood. And is this what they will teach their kids?
And who do you think has to pay for the removal of all of this illegal trash dumping? How about you and I as over-taxed tax payers. They say, “Let the punishment fit the crime”. Okay, it is illegal to dump any kind of trash on the roadside. Let’s up the ante to a $500 fine or fifty hours of community service cleaning up the same highways and parking lots they pollute with their trash.
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See ya’ and God Bless America and watch over our troops wherever they may be serving our great country.