Garbage dumping problem unacceptable

Last week we decried the illegal dumping of mountains of trash on logging access roads and the sides of our highways, and even in a farmer’s fenced-off field.

This week the Citizen learned that the Cowichan Valley Regional District is more or less being forced to discontinue their neighbourhood recycling bin program due to how much trash is being abandoned at the seven unmanned receptacles. (It used to be 13, but the hosts of the others asked for the bins to be removed because of the garbage problem.)

The CVRD can hardly be blamed for taking out the recycling sites. The costs to take care of other people’s mess are driving the program out of business. The dumpers are effectively doubling the bill for the service.

Both the processor and the hauler are fed up with the garbage they’re having to deal with, when they’re paid to handle recycling.

Take a look at the extra photos on our website (www.cowichanvalleycitizen.com) for a clear picture of just how bad things are. So the dumpers have ruined it for everyone.

The discontinuation of this program will be a loss for Valley residents.

It was convenient for people to be able to take their recyclables to a drop-off point closer to their home than the main transfer stations.

It was also a good way to decrease traffic at those transfer stations.

Then there’s the fact that even with the bins the dumping of trash along roadsides and in the bush is a big problem.

Without the bin locations, it doesn’t take a genius to guess that the covert illegal dumping will only increase.

That means the CVRD – all of us – will still be on the hook for clean-up costs. Presumably these will be less than running the garbage-riddled bin program. So what’s the solution? In last Friday’s editorial we stated out support for a dramatic increase in fines for those who are doing the littering.

Make the dumpers pay thousands of dollars instead of hundreds of dollars.

Perhaps then the fee at the transfer station will look more attractive in comparison to what will befall those who get caught.

We still think this is part of what needs to be done.

Clearly some education is needed as well.

Looking at the piles of items that get dumped almost always turns up numerous things that could have been recycled or disposed of without any fee involved.

Then there’s the idea of having a couple of clean-up days per year, where residents can put out any garbage they like to be collected for free by a local government. This type of program has proven very successful in other places. Let’s try it here.