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Illegal Dumping Still a Problem

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At least two streets in Harrison West dead end at the Olentangy River, and those two streets remain temptations for illegal dumpers. This spring, neighbors have reported grass clippings illegally dumped at the end of Bradley Street, and just this weekend, someone dumped a load of dirt and yard debris at the end of West Second Avenue. Both of these areas are being managed by Columbus Recreation and Parks and by the Harrison West Society Parks and Green Space Committee, who have spent many hours removing invasive species and planting new, native plants there to control erosion. All of their work, as well as the health of the river and riverbank, is jeopardized by this illegal dumping.

In these photos, you can see that the dumpers dislodged a warning sign (the red diamond), piled dirt along a neighbor’s fence, left dirt and debris on top of the guardrail, and raised the ground level behind the guardrail by several feet. The orange flags indicate where new spice bushes were installed just two weeks ago to replace invasive honeysuckle that was removed last fall; you can see how the criminal dumpers nearly trampled the spice bush.

It’s easy to think, “Oh well, it’s just plant material. It’s biodegradable. It’s not like I’m dumping tires or trash,” but without knowing what is being done in the area to rescue it from decades of neglect, you could easily trample or bury new plantings. Native species struggling to regain a foothold can be buried under debris and killed, even if it’s biodegradable debris. And much of that material will wash down into the Olentangy River, taking lawn chemicals and fertilizers with it and potentially damaging the river’s ecosystem. Besides, the city provides free yard waste recycling (yes, you have to buy bags, but Home Depot is selling five bags for just $1.88), and dumping makes our neighborhood look trashy.

The Harrison West Society Parks and Green Space Committee would like you remind you that dumping yard waste or trash in public spaces is a crime that can earn you a hefty fine. You can learn the proper way to dispose of your yard waste from the Website of the Columbus Department of Public Service. If you see someone dumping yard waste or trash in the neighborhood, call Nail a Dumper at (614) 871-5322 or snap a photo with some identifying features—a license plate number, a face, etc.—and send it to the Parks and Green Space Committee.

Be good neighbors and keep Harrison West beautiful. Don’t dump your trash for someone else to have to clean up later.

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