Top prosecutors and elected officials in Alameda and Contra Costa counties joined together Wednesday to announce new funding and strategies aimed at preventing illegal dumping and waste.
Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley, whose district includes parts of Oakland that are affected by the problem, said something must be done because illegal dumping is "a plague on our society" and affects residents' quality of life.
Joining Miley and others at a news conference at the Alameda County District Attorney's Office in Oakland, Assemblywoman Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, D-Orinda, said she has secured $750,000 in state funds to allow for the creation of a one-year pilot program in Alameda and Contra Costa counties that will focus on increased law enforcement efforts to combat illegal dumping.
Bauer-Kahan said the funds will pay for enforcement officers in both counties and will help establish best practices that will be used to enforce illegal dumping laws across the state.
"This state funding will provide our counties with the resources they need to combat this difficult problem," Bauer-Kahan said.
The problem is caused, Bauer-Kahan said, by unscrupulous commercial haulers as well as individual violators who illegally dispose of construction debris, mattresses and all sorts of trash, wreaking havoc on the environment and ruining neighborhood streets.
The funding will provide both counties with the ability to have at least one full-time officer to enforce illegal dumping laws to make a big impact in tackling the problem, she said.
Miley said Alameda County will have two sheriff's deputies enforce the laws full time and Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton said one deputy from her county will focus on the problem.
In addition, Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley said several attorneys in her office will prosecute illegal dumping cases.
"Illegal dumping is an environmental justice issue that disproportionately affects disadvantaged communities and impacts the sense of well-being of all who live and work in neighborhoods where it is rampant," O'Malley said.
She added that dumping hot spots become breeding grounds for vermin and impact public health.
Becton said, "Illegal dumping puts entire communities at risk. It can harm the environment, endanger wildlife, threaten the health and safety of residents and adversely affect property values."
Miley said he hopes the fight to end illegal dumping can be expanded to the rest of California if the pilot program is successful.
"This problem of illegal dumping knows no boundaries and this is a statewide issue," he said.
Miley said if Alameda and Contra Costa counties are successful in stopping illegal dumping, the people doing the dumping will move to Marin County, San Mateo County and other areas in the state.
"If we don't stop it across the state, they will go somewhere else," he warned.