NMSU students help combat illegal dumping in Dona Ana County

DATE by Samuel Horstman, NMSU News Center

New Mexico State University students are working with the Doña Ana County Illegal Dumping Partnership Program to make it easier for Las Cruces residents to report illegal dumping through the use of a smartphone application.

The new app, NoThrow, integrates with your phone’s camera to capture photos of illegal dump sites. The application then tags the GPS location of the site and prepares a submission form that allows for a convenient way to report illegal dumping.

“Before, we would hire students throughout the summer to help clean up some of the illegal dumpsites,” said Rusty Stovall, chief of operations with Bureau of Land Management in Las Cruces. “We saw the job was too big – the students weren’t even putting a dent in it. We don’t have the staff to go out and map these areas, and that’s when I brought up the idea of creating an app.”

The application was created by ByteWare Apps, a student startup company launched through Studio G, the student business incubator at NMSU’s Arrowhead Center. The company was founded by NMSU students Steven Berard, Taylor Burgett and Jake Gutierrez.

“I liked working with students,” Stovall said. “Students bring in new technology and a new way to look at things. Steven and Taylor went far beyond what was needed. I have never worked with professionals like that at such a young age.”

Work on the app began with Berard, who then brought the project with him to ByteWare.

“It was a pleasure working with the Doña Ana County Illegal Dumping Partnership Program,” Burgett said. “They are an effective cross-departmental group that is focused on making a difference.”

The Doña Ana County Illegal Dumping Partnership Program also worked with the NMSU Spatial Applications Research Center in the Department of Geography.

The NoThrow app is free and available for iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and Android phones. It can be found on Apple’s App Store at https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/nothrow/id828239848?ls=1&mt=8 or on the Google Play store at https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.bytewareapps.android.nothrow.

The Doña Ana County Illegal Dumping Partnership Program is a joint venture between Dona Doña County, the Bureau of Land Management in Las Cruces, the Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Office, the South Central Solid Waste Authority, the Mesilla Valley Regional Dispatch Authority and Keep Las Cruces Beautiful.

“We are excited about this new giant step forward in taking the desert back from people who dump illegally,” said Suzanne Michaels, a spokeswoman for South Central Solid Waste Authority. “This is another leap forward in reporting illegal dumping in Doña Ana County.”

With 80 downloads to date, Stovall said he’s seen a steady increase in reports of illegal dumping since the launch of the app.

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