BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — No matter who and where you are, there’s a strong chance you’ve come across illegal dumping. People will throw away trash in all sorts of places — but whether it’s leaving furniture on the side of a road or throwing bags out in the parking lot, it’s technically all considered illegal dumping. Even if people are aware of this fact, though, it certainly doesn’t stop some — including a few here in our state.

DIY pest control website PestDude performed a survey of 3,000 anonymous individuals in order to discover just how many people around the US admitted to the practice. During this poll, it was noted that ND does indeed have a slight problem with litterbugs. Of the North Dakotans surveyed, 16% admitted to taking part in illegal dumping in one way or another. Incidentally, this level is somewhat lower than nearby states in the Midwest — Montanans were revealed to be the largest litterbugs in the nation, with 38% noting that they had partaken in illegal dumping at some point during their lives. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Colorado was deemed the most eco-friendly state, with only 4% of residents confessing to the crime.

In terms of the items that are actually dumped, PestDude’s survey indicated food was easily the most popular item to throw away, taking up 57% of trashed material. This is a tremendous cry from the second-most commonly dumped object (old mattresses, at 17%). Other notable items that have frequently been thrown out include televisions (8%), computers (6%), and furniture, washing machines, and cold storage devices such as refrigerators and freezers (all 4%).

If the dumping itself wasn’t enough of a problem, the study and PestDude’s staff note that there is a second, other disastrous effect caused by improper trash discarding procedures.

“Illegally dumped trash is a haven for all kinds of unwanted pests and vermin,” stated PestDude’s owner Zachary Smith in a release. “Rats, mice, and cockroaches are some of the most common pests that are drawn to illegally dumped trash. These pests can breed and multiply quickly in the piles of garbage, leading to an infestation that can quickly spread to neighboring areas. Flies and other insects are also attracted to the rotting food and waste, which can cause not only a nuisance but also health hazards”.

Although 81% of individuals say that tossing garbage in someone else’s dumpster is still an acceptable way of getting rid of it, some are willing to take much more environmentally-damaging routes to dispose of their trash. 9% of the survey’s results stated they believe it was acceptable to throw garbage on the sidewalk. Lower, but more concerning numbers also indicate that 4% treat dumping trash in rivers and lakes as appropriate (the same percentage also say litter on roads and highways is acceptable). Lastly, 2% of surveyed individuals indicated they would even be willing to dispose of trash in parking lots.

While it’s true that some North Dakotans do participate in illegal dumping, the survey also indicated that many people would be willing to take steps to prevent it, or have at least disapproved of the concept. 58% of all surveyed individuals stated that they would report their neighbors for illegal dumping. Despite this, though, some still believe it is okay to dump their garbage where it doesn’t belong.

It may be tempting for some to find ways to dispose of their garbage without going through the proper motions, but the risks greatly outweigh any befits that might come of it. For both one’s personal health and the health of the environment, it’s best to ensure that you always take care and take the appropriate steps when removing trash from your residence.

To view a full interactive map of illegal dumping confessions across the United States, visit this link on PestDude’s website.