Illegal dumping has been a long-time problem in the Cowichan Valley.
Ian Morrison, chairman of the Cowichan Valley Regional District, said some people seem to have deposited the whole contents of their homes in the forests and bushes in the area.
But he said one of the most egregious examples of this type of activity is what he calls “convenience dumping”.
“This includes people who load all their yard and garden waste into their trucks and trailers and, instead of taking it to one of our recycling centres for free under the CVRD’s garden and yard waste drop-off program, they’ll take it to places like logging roads and dump it in the bushes there,” Morrison said.
“It likely costs more in gas to transport this waste to these out-of-the-way places than to take it to one of our centres. Sadly, there are often invasive species mixed into the waste and that can cause further problems for our environment.”
In an effort to try and deal with illegal dumping, the CVRD and Mosaic Forest Management are partnering to support illegal dumping clean-up efforts throughout the month of April.
All around the world, groups of residents are taking up the #TrashTag challenge in their communities, cleaning up dump sites and litter while raising awareness about the issue through social media.
Over the coming weeks, the CVRD and Mosaic are encouraging residents to organize and/or participate in a clean-up event around the region.
The CVRD will be providing resources for clean-up materials and waiving the garbage tipping fee for qualifying community groups who register their events with the CVRD’s solid waste and recycling division.
Mosaic will provide further incentive for volunteers in the form of gift cards to purchase refreshments for registered clean-up events, as well as prizes for individuals and community groups who promote their efforts on social media.
“There are a lot of local groups that spend a lot of time in our forests and trails in the Valley, like ATV clubs, fish and game clubs and naturalists, that organize clean ups, and we think these efforts will work better if they work as a group with us,” Morrison said.
“These groups do so much great work, I can’t even tell you the value of it. We’re more than happy to help make their efforts a little easier through this campaign.”
The Sahtlam Neighbour Association is one community group that has routinely organized clean-ups around frequented illegal dumping sites.
On April 13, volunteers will be assembling at the Sahtlam Firehall at 10 a.m. and focus on removing litter and garbage around the Trans-Canada Trail, the Duncan Chinese Cemetery and along roadways throughout Sahtlam.
Community groups and individuals participating in clean-ups throughout April are encouraged to share their stories on social media using the #TrashTag and #CleanUpCowichan hashtags.
Cowichan residents can also help prevent illegal dumping by reporting polluters to the Ministry of Environment’s RAPP line at 1-877-952-7277 (or #7277 from cellphones) and increase the chances offenders are caught and fined.
For a list of registered community clean-ups across the Cowichan region, visit the CVRD’s website at www.cvrd.bc.ca.
To learn more about the waste disposal options near you, visit www.cvrd.bc.ca/Recycling or call the Recycling Hotline at 250-746-2540.