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Surveillance cameras catch litterbugs in the act

Ponoco Record | January 3 2006

Smile!

You could be on litterbug candid camera.

The Monroe County Municipal Waste Management Authority has placed surveillance cameras at all six county REACH Recycling drop-off locations.

The system allows the authority's enforcement team to watch live-feed or taped video surveillance from the authority's office.

Officers will have evidence of the crime as it was committed and will have an easier time proving charges with local municipal judges when litterbugs are caught dumping at any one of the centers.

Fines could be as high as $1,000, according to the Monroe County ordinance.

The goal of the centers is to help see 35 percent of the county's waste recycled. Already, more than 200 tons of material is recycled monthly by the authority. The problem lies in non-recyclable material and trash being left improperly at the centers.

Littering has been an increasing logistical and financial burden to the program, with funding and man-hours necessary to dispose of non-recyclable refuse and trash left in and around the blue collection containers.

In addition, the authority staff was needed on-site at the various locations to watch for litterbugs, and then to appear in court to provide first-hand witness to the offense.

Executive Director Dean DeLong contends that many people don't know where to bring items — like old carpeting or tires — and just drop them off at the blue recycling bins.

"They hear that these things can be recycled — and they can — but not here," he said. "People just don't seem to understand that there are some restrictions on what we accept."

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