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    Stop the drop: Pendleton community addresses illegal dumping

    Stop the drop: Pendleton community addresses illegal dumping

    Photo By Lance Cpl. Drake Nickels | The Camp Pendleton Recycling Program is available for Marines aboard the installation...... read more read more

    CAMP PENDLETON, CA, UNITED STATES

    09.24.2021

    Story by Lance Cpl. Drake Nickels 

    Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton

    Corporal Dylan Jones has spent his first four years in the Marine Corps at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. He just re-enlisted and received permanent change of station orders to another installation. In the heat of all the planning that went along with his upcoming move he failed to arrange disposal of that old sofa he had in his garage. He was now two days away from his move and needed to act fast, so he posted the sofa on social media to see if there were any takers. After six hours he did not receive any responses so he attempted to contact the Navy Relief Society Thrift Store but it was 9 P.M. and they were closed. Now that it was getting dark Cpl. Jones waited until midnight when he was sure no other Marines would be on the running trails and him and his spouse threw the sofa in the brush and drove away.

    So what is the problem with what Cpl. Jones and his spouse did? Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton is home to over a dozen threatened and endangered species and has over 17 miles of undeveloped coastline. The base has a commitment to not only train the nation's premier fighting force, but to also be good stewards of the environment. The state of Camp Pendleton’s environment takes year-round conservation efforts and those efforts allow Marines to train.

    As of recently, Camp Pendleton’s leaders have noticed a growing issue around the installation: illegal dumping of trash.

    Illegal dumping is punishable under the Uniformed Code of Military Justice and if found guilty, could face a copious amount of fines. Area Maintenance teams across the installation has taken on extra duties in efforts to eradicate litter and to get the items to their proper place of disposal. Area Maintenance’s mission is to manage work orders, maintenance, repairs, restoration, modernization and all infrastructure utilities. The Marines with Area Maintenance have multiple teams to complete landscaping and work orders around the base. They also have a team designated to just the illegal dumping removal efforts, thus, siphoning precious manpower and resources from their primary mission of keeping the Camp Pendleton in working order. The Marines assigned to Area Maintenance agree the problem of illegal dumping needs to be addressed by each individual Marine.

    “Our challenge has become illegal dumping,” said Timothy Soboleski, the area facility manager for Facility Operations, Assistant Chief of Staff Facilities. “When Marines receive permanent change of station orders or reach their end of active service, they like to just drop whatever that can't fit in their vehicle and that is what is distracting us from our mission. We are spending more time doing recycling than grounds maintenance.”

    “I know there are responsible people on this base; we are the Marines,” said Lance Cpl. Amanda Harding, a team lead with Area Maintenance, Headquarters and Support Battalion, MCB Camp Pendleton. “Marines should respect the area that they live in. The ideal scenario for me would include Marines having classes to get the knowledge for how to go about proper disposal.”

    Fortunately, however, many resources are readily available to base personnel to responsibly dispose of different types of waste. For example, the residents of the bachelor enlisted quarters must coordinate with their respective environmental compliance coordinators. Base housing residents must contact their specific district housing office for information on proper disposal. Hazardous waste such as batteries, oil, and cleaning solutions, are generally disposed of at individual area’s hazardous waste sites through the Environmental Contract Office. Rubber tires must be disposed of through the Defense Logistics Agency.

    Camp Pendleton also runs its very own recycling center, which is accessible to Marines and base residents five days a week, Monday through Friday. The center serves as a sustainable method of waste disposal and reconstitution that directly benefits Camp Pendleton personnel. Funds generated by recycling are reinvested in various base programs and facilities, such as purchasing new gym equipment and books for base gyms and libraries. The center is located in the 22 Area of Camp Pendleton, building 22054T at the corner of 4th Street and C Avenue.

    “We take quite a bit of everything,” said Aiko Mackus, the environmental protection assistant at the Camp Pendleton Recycling Center. “We do not take demilitarized equipment and we don't take live ordnance or hazardous materials. ”

    Illegal dumping not only affects the personnel on the installation but it also negatively affects the base's promise to preserve the environment and the Camp Pendleton Fire Department's mission to prevent wildland fires. All-in-all, the more time base facility personnel spend cleaning up illegally dumped trash, means less time spent maintaining base grounds, such as clearing vegetation overgrowth.


    “Soil and water become contaminated, wildlife is disrupted and there is an increase in potential for natural disasters like wildfires,” said John Crook, the fire marshal for the Camp Pendleton Fire Department. “If an illegal dump site is left unchecked it increases the odds of a spontaneous fire that can become a full-fledged vegetation fire.”

    We are all stewards of the environment, as such, the way Marines dispose of their trash matters greatly and directly correlates to the safety of those who call Camp Pendleton their home.

    For more information on how to properly dispose of waste and recycling around the base, refer to base order 6280.1. For more information on how Camp Pendleton protects the environment, visit https://www.pendleton.marines.mil/Staff-Agencies/Environmental-Security.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 09.24.2021
    Date Posted: 09.27.2021 18:08
    Story ID: 406016
    Location: CAMP PENDLETON, CA, US 

    Web Views: 328
    Downloads: 0

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