Land Pollution

What is it?

Land pollution refers to the destruction or a decline in quality of the earth's surface as a result of human actions. This could include anything from mining to agriculture to building, and consequences may be intentional or unintentional. Land pollution includes legacy pollution, illegal dumping and litter.

Legacy pollution is when land is contaminated from prior use of chemicals that have remained over time. Often, these chemicals were not thought of as harmful or environmental impacts were not necessarily weighed during the time of use, and the harm remains years later. 

A brownfield is a property where the improvement or expansion of the area or buildings on the area is complicated due to residual contamination or pollutants.The undertaking of restoring or re-purposing this land improves the quality of the natural land, brings business and revenue to an otherwise unused area, and provides tax incentives to business owners that use brownfield property to build. In 2014, the Brownfield Act was passed to aid in efforts in the restoration of brownfield properties. Recent brownfield building in Athens-Clarke County includes the new apartment buildings, The Mark and The Standard.

Illegal dumping refers to the dumping of waste illegally, rather than in approved or paid-for dumpsters. This may apply to non-recyclable items in a recycling drop-off location, or leaving bags of garbage in ditches or roadsides.

To responsibly dispose of non-recyclable items, community members may take items to the Athens Center for Hard to Recycle Items (CHaRM). The ACC CHaRM will accept all of the following materials:  Automotive Fluids, Batteries, Bulbs, Carpet, Cleaners, Clothing/Shoes, Electronics, Fire Extinguishers, Grease, Lawn Care Products, Paint, Propane Tanks, Tires and more. The Athens landfill will dispose of other items like mattresses or propane tanks for a small additional fee to your normal trash service.

Littering is the act of leaving solid waste (like bottles, paper, or scraps) out in the open. Join Keep Athens-Clarke County Beautiful (KAACB) in the fight against litter in our community.

How Can I Help?

Reduce your impact on the environment by responsibly managing your waste. Follow the "Three R's": Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. Reduce consumption by only purchasing what you need or will use. Reuse by purchasing used goods or by using what you already have. Recycle by re-purposing items or taking approved materials to recycling centers. Visit the Athens-Clarke Solid Waste Department web page for recycling and solid waste guidelines in your community.