Long a scourge of the county, the practice of littering is again under fire, said Batavia Township Trustee Lee Cornett. Recently, a garbage dump site found on Filager Road prompted an investigation that identified the alleged perpetrator of the illegal dumping site.
“We had noticed people were dumping things near the cell tower,” said Cornett. “We asked for a gate to be put up. We found litter there several times, so once we got our dedicated deputies, when we found litter I called Deputy Boerger about it. He went through it, found information and found who had left it there. That person was cited for it.”
The man, said Cornett, who is believed to be responsible for the dump site actually lives out of state, so finding the perpetrator wasn’t as simple as knocking on a door or two. However, Cornett said that the results so far have been more than satisfactory, and the hope is that the end result, once the case has made its way through court, will be satisfying to the township.
“This is in the process of going through court,” said Cornett. “They decided to take the case to trial. I was pleased that Deputy Boerger followed up on it and has really done a great job.”
"The littering problem here is horrible," said Sheriff Rodenberg. "We've got a horrible problem, and we've tried everything imaginable. Some good intentioned people have begun the clean and green group, but it's a tough nut to crack. When it comes to littering, there is a significant lack of civic pride in this community. If you ride around the county, it is a mess everywhere. The county has, through the court system, put people on probation out picking up litter. Almost as soon as they pick it up, it's right back out there."
Sheriff Rodenberg said that the issue seems to be almost one of a catch 22. If people see you picking litter up, he said, they may feel more at ease throwing it out, since they know someone will pick it up. Conversely, if they see litter on the ground, they may also feel more at ease throwing more out, since there was litter there to begin with.
The end result is a region that, in Sheriff Rodenberg's words, looks like a "pig sty."
"A few years ago, through the court system, a litter program was created to use inmate labor," said Sheriff Rodenberg. "I half think that, when people see inmates out picking up litter, they think they can throw it out because someone will pick it up. A few places we were doing trash pickup at, a few weeks after we cleaned it it was just as trashed as it was before we picked it up. Traveling around the country, it seems to be pretty bad around southwest Ohio. In terms of litter, it's like a pig sty."
Cornett said that, on several roads in the township, the problem goes beyond simple littering. In areas like Filager or Greenbriar roads, whole loads of trashed are dumped at once.
"This has been one of our major concerns," said Cornett. "That was a directive since the beginning. We've had littering on Greenbriar, Elk Lick, Filager, and even at the park and ride Herold Road. That's a reason we've done the township cleanup was to encourage people to turn this in instead of throwing it by the road. It's been successful, this is the first year that the amounts being brought in have dropped off."
Sheriff Rodenberg said that it all boils down to a lack of pride and discipline.
"I'm hoping to catch someone when I'm out," said Sheriff Rodenberg. "I've yet to see it though. You usually just see the results later. People need civic pride and discipline."