Illegal Dumping on WBZ

The only time I catch network news is during the commercials for Hawaii Five-O, and there was a promo for a report on illegal dumping in Lynn:

The cameras, dozens of them, are on loan to communities across the state from the Department of Environmental Protection. They are camouflaged and hidden out of view.

Ken Kimmell, the State Commissioner says, “People who have been caught have been hit with fines ranging from $300 on the low end to many thousands on the high end, and again, much much more than they would have paid if they had just gone to the landfill.”

And the surveillance pictures capture it all. They show people are willing to take a chance dumping mattresses on a wooded lane, even in the middle of the night, flinging yard waste in the middle of a street and tossing building materials onto a sidewalk.

The result is vacant lots and space buried in a sea of decaying debris.

We visited one such vacant in Lawrence which required a small army to clean up.

The cameras — as reported — are part of a DEP program called “Candid Camera.”

As many of you know, the City of Worcester has cameras for dumping enforcement, but those cameras need to be hooked into a power source (that is, be on a streetlight pole and be hooked into the power for the street light).  This makes camera enforcement in an area like Swan Avenue (which is not lit) difficult.

If you read the whole DEP presentation — you will see that “Two cameras are needed – one for wideview, one for plate capture.”

I don’t know if I’ve explained this before, but (even if I have, it’s worth repeating) the presence of two cameras is critical for the successful prosecution of dumping.  You need one camera focused on the license plate, and you need another camera to photograph the activity of dumping.

I don’t have much more to add; I suspected a long time ago that one of the secrets to keeping a place neat was… to keep it neat.  That is, dumping begets more dumping, and keeping an area free of debris makes some would-be dumpers nervous that cameras are present.

Which is almost as good as the presence of actual cameras.

Movin’ on up to 6a?

Global warming naysayers might want to cast a gander on the USDA‘s revised hardiness zones.  Central Massachusetts used to be in Zone 5b, but now you’ll notice that a big swath of the area has been upgraded to Zone 6a:

Some of Worcester is located in a little 5b pocket, though.  Enter your zipcode on their map page & see if you’re a 5b or a 6a.

What would a 6a mean for you?  It means the plants/trees you choose for your yard need only be hardy to -10 degrees fahrenheit instead of -15 . . . this gives you a wider range of plants from which to choose.  There are many Zone 6 plants that historically couldn’t have made it through a typical central Mass. winter, but now might, thanks to climate change.

The zone map isn’t infallible, though.  I’m technically in a 5b zone, but for more than a decade I’ve had several zone 6 trees growing happily in the yard.