RANSOM TWP. — Rolling hills, green farmlands, lush forests – these could all describe the scenery one is likely to witness when driving through the municipality. But along some stretches of area roadway, an accurate description would also have to include things like old tires, piles of trash and broken electronics.
Littering and illegal dumping is a problem in Ransom Township, according to resident Amy Lewis, who volunteered, along with her 11-year-old son Reilly, for a cleanup of Snake Road (Ransom Road or State Route 3002) Saturday morning, May 7.
“It’s disgusting,” she said, referring to all the roadside trash. “Especially when Ransom Township has free garbage pickup.”
But rather than dwelling on the problem, township officials are making steps toward a solution, and Saturday’s cleanup is just the start.
Thanks to a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, the township recently purchased for $14,845 a set of solar-powered surveillance cameras. This equipment, according to Township Supervisor David Bird, will be strategically placed in various “problem areas” within the township. He explained Snake Road, Coxton Road and Dark Region Road, especially, see a lot of litter and vandalism.
The cameras, however, won’t necessarily remain in the same spots all the time.
“That’s the nice thing about these – we can move them around,” Bird said. “If we see a spot where we’re starting to get activity, we can put the cameras out there.”
And, thanks to modern technology, the results should be instantaneous. The cameras not only have the ability to take clear pictures of people who park in the surrounding area to unload their trash, but they can also instantly send those images directly to a township cell phone or email account. Township officials will then notify law enforcement so the law-breakers can be prosecuted.
Information regarding state littering and illegal dumping laws and penalties can be found online at illegaldumpfreepa.org. Local ordinances can vary by municipality. According to Bird, Ransom Township Solicitor Edmund Scacchitti is in the process of drafting a specific ordinance for the municipality, which will likely come before the supervisors for a vote sometime this summer.
On Saturday, Lewis and her son joined Bird, Township Secretary JoAnn Pane and a small group of workers from Alliance Landfill in bagging up litter from the roadside, which PennDOT employees then picked up, along with loads of more than 250 tires that Bird and the township road crew piled up during the week.
“We live in a beautiful area, and you hate seeing that stuff lining the roads,” said Bird. “You drive by and it makes you sick.”
Just some of the other items pulled off the roadside, according to Bird, included more than seven old televisions and other broken electronics, a child’s wading pool, mattresses and a large pile of phone books still in their plastic delivery bags.
Bird was optimistic regarding the township’s battle against the litter problem, and expressed gratitude on behalf of the municipality for the volunteers who helped with Saturday’s cleanup, PennDOT for its partnership in the event and the volunteers from the Ransom Lions Club and Countryside Community Church, who also conducted a cleanup the week before on Newton Ransom Boulevard.
Reach Elizabeth Baumeister at 570-704-3943 or on Twitter @AbingtonJournal.