The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection has launched a new initiative to support municipalities like Jersey City and Secaucus in combatting illegal dumping.
Spurred by community feedback from environmental justice listening sessions, DEP Assistant Commissioner Elizabeth Dragon spearheaded the development of the Collaboration and Deterrence Project of DEP’s Illegal Dumping Program.
Through this new project, DEP will help municipalities combat illegal dumping by loaning deterrence equipment to participating towns and providing training and support to aid local officials in enforcing civil and criminal environmental laws.
Municipalities participating in the initial launch of the project include Camden, Fairfield, Jersey City, Linden, Newark, Paterson, Salem, Secaucus, Trenton, Vernon, and Vineland.
We’re not a dumping ground
“Those who violate our waste laws are not just harming our environment, they are damaging the spirit of our communities,” said Acting DEP Commissioner Shawn LaTourette. “Dumping upon our vibrant towns and cities in effect says that our fellow New Jerseyans are somehow less deserving of natural beauty and environmental protection. By joining forces with our local partners to deter and prosecute illegal dumping, we are standing for and with one another—and against those who would make any New Jersey community their dumping ground.”
The DEP and the Attorney General have made environmental enforcement and environmental justice a key priority for the Murphy Administration.
“Far too frequently polluters will dump waste and hazardous materials, especially in lower income and minority communities, where they believe they can violate the law with impunity,” said Attorney General Gurbir Grewal. “I am proud to again stand with Acting Commissioner LaTourette and DEP to send a clear message to illegal dumpers: if you pollute our communities, not only will we pursue you with civil actions, we will prosecute you criminally. And, we will help our local partners to enforce these laws as well, because everyone—no matter their race, ethnicity, color, national origin, or income—deserves to live and work in a healthy and clean environment, free from the harmful and degrading effects of polluted air, contaminated water, and illegal dumping.”
“Partnership and teamwork are the hallmarks of this initiative,” said Dragon. “By building upon our previous successes, listening to our communities and acting collaboratively, the DEP can build stronger environmental compliance across New Jersey.”
Through the project, the DEP will procure and provide the equipment, bring partners together for broad training on implementing an illegal dumping program at the local level, as well as impart strategies for deterring illegal dumping. The Attorney General’s office will also assist by offering guidance and training on pathways for both civil and criminal enforcement.
Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop said the new initiative will boost the city’s efforts to curtail illegal dumping.
“Our taxpayers should not be held responsible for the costly cleanups caused by these irresponsible lawbreakers,” Fulop said. “Illegal dumping sites often become magnets for even more dumping, and so we’re thankful to partner with the NJDEP to boost our efforts of deterring and enforcing illegal dumping, which includes installing cameras in strategic locations throughout the city.”