Raise fines for illegal dumping of garbage

What on earth makes people think it’s acceptable for them to just dispose of their garbage wherever they wish? As long as it’s not on their own property, of course.

Someone else’s property? Well far too many people in the Cowichan Valley seem to think that’s fair game.

The latest incident of note is the dumping of a whole truck bed full of household debris onto a farmer’s field.

The cowards sneaked in during the night, having to go so far as to open a gate and back in before unloading their unwanted refuse.

Clearly whoever did it has no respect for their neighbours.

How would they like it if someone did the same on their property? They’d be up in arms. But when it comes to disposing of their own trash all they can think of is saving a couple of bucks – by making someone else pay the tab. In this case, an innocent farmer who just happened to be there.

Properly disposing of this material, some of which could undoubtedly be recycled and thus would not cost a cent, would likely only set the owner back a small amount.

Instead, the individual was willing to risk the $100 to $500 fine to dump it onto somebody else.

While this incident is particularly egregious, because it was done somewhere clearly owned by a particular person, it is far from a one-off.

People regularly toss their litter onto the sides of our rural highways and roadways, with forest service roads being particularly popular among the illegal dumping crowd.

Everything from old furniture to tires, clothes and shingles are being found discarded.

It has so frustrated some of our local government employees who are having to pick up the mess that they’re suggesting raising the fines involved from a couple hundred dollars to, say, a couple thousand dollars.

It would be an easy sell to our local government representatives, they believe, and we concur.

In fact, they should go ahead and do it.

Maybe if these folks get hit in their bank balance they’ll financially see the sense of actually taking the stuff to a transfer station.

If they can’t be convinced to be good citizens because it is the right thing to do, then convince them to be good citizens because it will cost them if they aren’t.

A pretty good portion of dumpers are actually caught because something in the trash identifies them – and yes, workers do comb through it to identify the offenders.

The message is obviously not getting through: The public is not responsible for your garbage.

Knock it off. The Cowichan Valley is not a garbage pit.