A drive down just about any highway in Oklahoma and drivers will spot litter along the way. A drive down more isolated roads will yield not only scattered litter, but a number of dump sites in the ditches. These dumps are not only unsightly and illegal, they also can cause damage to the environment.
Keima Kamara, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension assistant state specialist with the Solid Waste Management Program, said these sites can cause contamination of soil, ground water, drinking water wells, streams and rivers.
“It’s not just that these illegal dumping areas are unsightly. There are other side effects, as well, including possible injury to children playing on or around the dump site, damage to plant and wildlife habitats and even a decrease in the quality of life to nearby residents and the local community,” Kamara said.
To help combat this problem, OSU Cooperative Extension is joining forces with the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, to host the Oklahoma Environmental Law Enforcement Training Seminar slated Jan. 24, 2020. This event is free will take place at the Oklahoma County OSU Cooperative Extension office, 2500 NE 63rd St., Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Check-in begins at 8:30 a.m. and the seminar will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Space is limited to 50 participants and preregistration is required, which will be confirmed via phone or email. The registration form may be downloaded at http://www.agecon.okstate.edu/waste/index.asp. Those interested also may register by phone at 405-744-9827.
“We encourage anyone who is interested in environmental law and those with a responsibility for preventing illegal dumping in their county to attend this seminar,” Kamara said. “Participants will gain expertise in environmental crimes investigations involving solid and hazardous waste, air and water pollution, open burning and agency jurisdictional issues. We’ll also provide information about identifying resources for improving local enforcement programs and networking with others involved in environmental enforcement.”
Other instructional topics include an overview of environmental crime statutes, dangers at environmental crime scenes, responding to crime scenes, Oklahoma’s littering and dumping laws and more.
Law enforcement officers, tribal environmental representatives, county commissioners, city officials and local citizens are encouraged to attend.
Michael Freeman, senior criminal investigator with the ODEQ, will be on hand to share his expertise. He will speak about agency jurisdictions and environmental crime statutes and give an overview of illegal dumping and environmental crime awareness. In addition, Kamara will share information about OSU Cooperative Extension’s role and the role citizens can take in helping control illegal dumping.
Eight hours of law enforcement credit is available. Provide your CLEET number on the registration form.