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September 25
1970 - Lagasse family helps save Mentryville buildings as Newhall and Malibu brush fires erupt & join into worst fire in SoCal history. Twelve fires over 10 days burn 525,000 acres, kill 13 people and destroy approx. 1,500 structures. [story]
Clampitt fire


Commentary by Dianne Erskine-Hellrigel
| Sunday, Mar 9, 2014

DianneErskineHellrigelIllegal dumping has become a chronic problem throughout Los Angeles County. But it is especially disturbing in Santa Clarita, because this is my home, and 10 years ago, it wasn’t like this.

One of the reasons I moved to Santa Clarita was because it was safe and clean. What happened? Where’s the respect of the land? How about love thy neighbor? Where’s the community pride?

Everywhere you look, there is trash that has been carelessly discarded or intentionally dumped. The effort to clean all of this tossed and dumped trash is enormous.

The Community Hiking Club has spent more than 2,500 hours picking up trash, hauling truckload after truckload of discarded construction materials, furniture, tables, couches, mattresses and miscellaneous trash out of just one area of rural Santa Clarita. We also cleaned up more than 5,000 pounds of refuse out of the Santa Clara River in one day.

After a long weekend of clean-up, we returned to take photos of the newly cleaned area, only to find that a pile of old exercise equipment, beer bottles and bags of trash had been dumped in the same spot.

litter030914cDumped loads have included refrigerators, clothes, green garbage, recyclables and construction materials.

Did these criminal dumpers even think about the way this would look, or how it could pollute our water supply, or how many hikes were ruined for families by having to look at it?

Many places where dumped loads show up are otherwise beautiful, pristine areas. To have these areas trashed like this is more than a crime.

There is no way the Community Hiking Club can keep up with the amount of trash being dumped and discarded. We simply cannot be everywhere, all the time. There has to be a solution.

Perhaps we can educate the people who are doing it. If education doesn’t work, maybe the heavy penalties they will suffer if caught in the act will. The minimum penalty for tossing a mere tissue out of your vehicle is $1,000. That’s just for a little litter.

The maximum penalty for illegal dumping is enormous. Check out California Penal Code Section 374.3, which states that the penalty for dumping on either public or private property is punishable by a fine of up to $10,000, six months in jail, AND the Sheriff has the right to seize the vehicle used in the act of illegal dumping. Now, weigh that against a trip to the dump. The dump fees are sounding cheaper now, aren’t they?

And if you live in Santa Clarita, did you know you can take your large items to your trash company for free legal drop off? It’s free. No possibility of arrest. Free, did you get that? No fines. It’s free. No confiscation of your vehicle. And it’s easy. Just sign in at the office and they will tell you which dumpster to put it in. There’s even a guy standing around to help you load it into the bin.

litter030914aIt kind of makes you dumpers look even more stupid for taking a chance at dumping your load, facing arrest, having your vehicle confiscated, going to jail for six months, losing your job and having to pay a $10,000 fine.

Maybe if this happened to more of you dumpers, we wouldn’t have the problem.

If I sound angry to you, you’re right, I am. I have spent too many hours of my life picking up someone else’s trash while they go on their merry way. I’m sick of California being trashed. I am sick of looking at it. I am sick of picking it up. I am sick of hundreds of pounds of it at a time being in my car. It’s time for people to take responsibility for keeping our city, our county, our state and especially our forest clean.

A small piece of plastic that may seem insignificant to you can kill a deer. A small chard of glass can kill a condor. Discarded trash has a huge impact on the ecosystem.

Even if you don’t care about that condor or that dead deer, think about the rainwater that eventually filters through all that trash, much of it toxic, and ends up in your drinking water. Maybe that will wake you up, or kill you.

Next time you see a piece of trash that someone has discarded, consider picking it up and putting it in a trash can. That little act of kindness could save an animal’s life.

Next time you see someone throw something out of his vehicle, write down the license plate and report it. The next time you see someone dumping, call the Sheriff’s Department immediately. The number is 911. If you have a camera, take pictures. Let’s get these people arrested.

The Sheriff’s Department has a zero tolerance policy about dumpers. There won’t be any second chances. If you’re in the Angeles National Forest, the Rangers will arrest you, too. And if you’re seen by any caring citizen with a still or video camera, you’ll be in court with irrefutable evidence.

OK, dumpers. You’ve been warned. Take your trash to the trash company for free, or suffer the consequences … loss of your truck, six months in jail, loss of your job, and a $10,000 fine. Don’t say no one ever told you.

 

Dianne Erskine-Hellrigel is executive director of the Community Hiking Club and president of the Santa Clara River Watershed Conservancy. If you’d like to be part of the solution, join the Community Hiking Club’s Stewardship Committee. Contact Dianne through communityhikingclub.org or at zuliebear@aol.com.

Comment On This Story
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21 Comments

  1. Amen Sister! What pigs!

  2. My apologies to the pigs!

  3. Daniel Konz Daniel Konz says:

    Who just throws out a perfectly good jacuzzi..?

  4. Is that a mannequin? Or where’s that persons head in the back??

  5. Is that a mannequin? Or where’s that persons head in the back??

  6. I think there head is facing down aka the mannequin lol

  7. people up the street have left out 2 queen mattresses since 2 weeks b4 the rain…i even told them that they could call waste management for FREE…DUH…now they are sitting there soaked…people are dumb & pigs !!

  8. Hahahahahahaha they should put a big truck to pick them on on the streets mmmmm hahahhahaha its funny hahahhahaha

  9. Thank you to the Community Hiking Club!

  10. Thank you to the Community Hiking Club!

  11. I live in Tick Canyon and despite all the signs, people think it’s perfectly fine to come onto our private road, dump their garbage, ride their dirt bikes, and park their cars to drink their beer. Apparently, those signs are for OTHERS, not the self-defined entitled.

  12. Ahh I know exactly where this is

  13. That place has been littered with shotgun shells, tv’s, couches, etc.

  14. Grant Ha Grant Ha says:

    I love this place

  15. Tony Simone Tony Simone says:

    Dumping your load

  16. Lora Hill Lora Hill says:

    When I called they told me I would be charged. Luckily good will accepted my large broken tv and even my old dish washer

  17. Lora Hill Lora Hill says:

    When I called they told me I would be charged. Luckily good will accepted my large broken tv and even my old dish washer

  18. The person in the back looks like they don’t have a head wtf! The one in the blue

  19. Mark Finch Mark Finch says:

    hey ,isent that that dude on duck dynasty ? and maybe there not tossing it , maybe its an uPHILL heave all race……

  20. James Hawkes James Hawkes says:

    I seen a truck dumping this on my street on the 5th. I took my phone & started recording. The guy did not like that & jumped out of the truck & assaulted me, wrong move, I was Army Delta & kicked his a$$ then called the police. The officer would not take him even after I arrested him for the assault. Wtf? I will be talking to his commander tomorrow morning. I have it all on video.

  21. James Hawkes says:

    I recorded 2 men dumping on my street & one jumped out of the truck & Assaulted me, all recorded. When the Lapd came the officer would not take the person even after I arrested him. What can I do now?

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