Theresa Graham was sickened when she walked her dog last Thursday and found nine bags of garbage dumped on the side of the road near her home in Shawnigan Lake.
"The ravens, the crows have gotten into these bags and it’s strewn all over," she said.
The garbage was left in a wooded stretch along the west arm of the Shawnigan Beach Estates, said Graham, a spot where somebody could dump without fear of being seen by any houses.
When she phoned the Cowichan Valley Regional District to notify them of the dump site, they directed her to the Ministry of Transportation as the party responsible for cleaning up the mess.
"They’re wiping their hands of this problem, which has only just begun," she said of the CVRD.
The regional district moved recently to eliminate their neighbourhood recycling bins, where people could take their glass, plastics and other recyclables, due to costly contamination by a few who were lighting the bins on fire and littering the sites with nonrecyclable materials.
Graham thinks the dumped bags are likely in protest of the move, along with the implementation of the new MMBC recycling rules, that state residents cannot put glass and film plastics, like plastic bags, into their blue bins.
"What can a person do to protest? But they’re not really helping the citizens. And the glass and this heat, and I live in a heavily forested area and it’s got me sick to my stomach," said Graham. "This is just wrong."
It’s not just her area that’s being affected.
"I have a friend who lives at the south end of the lake and they’re experiencing the same thing down there," she said. "This is not becoming an isolated incident."
She thinks the problem could spread even further. She spoke to a friend who lives in Duncan who had offered to take Graham’s things and put them in her recycling, but that’s no longer an option.
"Now North Cowichan is also going to be putting this new MMBC regulation in place."
"And what the heck are we going to do with the garbage and this is basically what the big question is going to be pretty darn soon," she said.
The clean-up costs come out of the taxpayers’ pockets she pointed out, and taxpayers are also paying for recycling.
"It’s a double-whammy," said Graham.
The Ministry of Transportation has a maintenance contractor that is required to clean up garbage at least once a week along major routes, and whenever they come across it on other routes.
The contractor has not reported an increase in garbage, said the Ministry.
"However, there is usually more garbage pickup in the summer because of tourism and more people using the rest areas and pullouts," the Ministry said.
Anyone who sees garbage along major routes should call the maintenance contractor at 1-877-391-7310.