Stop illegal dumping

“Drop the broken-down couch” and “Step out of the tire-filled dump truck and put your hands up” are not lines we hear on television crime shows.

Few law enforcement officers beg for transfers to the anti-dumping unit.

Cracking down on illegal dumping is not very glamorous or exciting, after all.

It is important, however.

Just a few days ago, trustees of Yellow Creek Township in southern Columbiana County discussed the problem. It came up because hundreds of old tires were dumped at four sites in the township on April 17.

Both the county sheriff’s department and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency are investigating.

Let us hope they make the probe a priority and can find and punish the miscreant(s) involved.

Illegal dumping is a problem in every county in East Ohio and the Northern Panhandle. Most of the time, it is small-scale crime.

Occasionally, as in Yellow Creek Township, it is a big problem.

It can be a major environmental concern. Piles of tires serve as breeding grounds for mosquitoes and vermin.

Last summer, there was something even worse, when nearly 30 barrels of a petroleum-based substance were dumped in Yellow Creek Township. Some of it leaked into a nearby creek.

Identifying the culprits behind illegal dumping can be exceedingly difficult. Law enforcement agencies often consider they have bigger fish to fry. Given the drug abuse epidemic in our states, that attitude is understandable.

But resources should be devoted to finding and punishing illegal dumpers, too. Area residents should not have to put up with scofflaws who destroy the natural beauty of our region and create health and safety hazards.