“Cleaning up, monitoring, and enforcing instances of illegal dumping costs taxpayers a significant amount of money each year which can also drive down property values due to safety concerns and aesthetic reasons that can hinder development as well as those looking to make investments in our community,” said Khalif Thomas, Newark’s Public Works director, commenting on his city’s inclusion in a new state program to curb illegal dumping.
“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,” Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said at the recent announcement of the program. “…if you pollute our communities, not only will we pursue you with civil actions, we will prosecute you criminally,” Grewal added.
As part of the program, which is under the aegis of the Department of Environmental Protection, the department will loan deterrence equipment to participating towns and provide training and support to local officials in enforcing civil and criminal environmental laws. Eleven towns and cities will be participating in the initial stages; they are Camden, Fairfield, Jersey City, Linden, Newark, Paterson, Salem, Secaucus, Trenton, Vernon and Vineland.