Public Lands Foundation

Through the efforts of a unique Illegal Dumping Partnership (IDP), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Doña Ana County, South Central Solid Waste Authority (SCSWA), Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Office and the Mesilla Valley Regional Dispatch Authority (MVRDA) are making excellent strides in combatting illegal dumping throughout the BLM Las Cruces District and county.

These strides have come in a two-part approach to educate the public about the impacts of illegal dumping on the environment, and the development of an application that allows Las Cruces and neighboring residents to report illegal dumping through the use of a smartphone application (App).

The educational campaign, which includes billboards, posters, advertising and sharing the IDP materials with as many residents and commercial entities as possible, is helping to build public awareness for the importance of disposing trash, household items and construction material in a responsible way.

The App is where the rubber meets the road.  Developed by ByteWare Apps, a student startup company through New Mexico State University’s (NMSU) Arrowhead Center, the “No Throw” App – as it is called, integrates with a smart phone camera to capture photos of illegal dump sites.  The application then tags the GPS location of the site and prepares a submission form that allows for a convenient way to report illegal dumping.  During the App development, the IDP also worked with the NMSU Spatial Applications Research Center in the Department of Geography.

Both educational and App approaches are important to the City of Las Cruces and surrounding communities that make up Doña Ana County.  While BLM is concerned about the illegal dumping impacts on public land, including public health and safety and visual impacts caused by this human behavior; the other partners are equally concerned about the illegal dumping occurring on city, county and state lands.

Since 2011, residents have reported 1749, illegal dump sites through the county, and so far approximately 1000 sites have been remediated by teams from BLM, Doña Ana County and SCSWA.  Approximately 1700 tons of illegally dumped materials have been cleaned up and taken to an authorized disposal site.

Like its partners, the BLM has devoted significant resources to combat illegal dumping.  These resources include funding for the App development and maintenance and data storage, as well as dedicating a permanent and temporary workforce to the Illegal Dump Program.

The BLM’s contributions to date include the cleanup of 1500 individual dump sites on public lands, with the collections of approximately 1741 tons of illegally dumped materials.  A lot of this work has been accomplished by BLM interns throughout the year, especially during the summer when high school and college students are available.

In addition, the BLM works with civic and volunteer organizations to mitigate illegal dump sites in their communities.  Together, these volunteers work with BLM and the IDP partners to make a difference for the environment.  Through their involvement and action, they are taking a stand to eliminate illegal dumping.

“The BLM Las Cruces District is pleased to be a part of this important partnership”, said BLM Las Cruces District Manager Bill Childress. “The Illegal Dumping Partnership continues to be one of the District priorities, working to build public awareness and help mitigate and stop illegal dumping,” he said.

Article by: Deborah Stevens, BLM Las Cruces District Public Affairs Officer. Questions? Contact her at dstevens@blm.gov.

 

 

Billboards such as this remind the public to stop illegal dumping, while the App give them the tool to report illegal dump sites they come across when recreating on BLM public land.  The “No Throw” App is free and available for iPhone, IPad, IPod Touch and Android phones and can be found on Apple’s App Store at https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/nothrow/id828239848?ls=1&mt=8 or on the Google Play store at https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.bytewareapps.android.nothrow.