Polluters are pariahs

Waste belongs in the bin, not in the great outdoors.

Unfortunately, illegal dumping continues to be enough of a concern that the regional district is putting renewed efforts into a public awareness campaign.

As if to illustrate the need, a resident in the North Qualicum/Meadowwood area this week reported a large load of shingles and roofing debris plopped right into the middle of a power-line access road off Corcan Road.

The Regional District of Nanaimo launched its Your Waste Doesn’t Belong Here social media blitz this month, seeking to get across the cost of illegal dumping and advise residents about responsible waste management. It partnered with the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities, suggesting the problem isn’t just a local concern.

According to an RDN press release, the regional district recovered 35 tonnes of trash from the bush in 2016 and spends approximately $30,000 each year dealing with illegal dumping.

So all taxpayers are impacted, and it’s also unfair because unsightly litter impacts other people’s outdoor recreation pursuits. It’s irritating to see the odd granola bar or slushie cup along a forest path, so garbage really gets gross when we start talking about it in terms of tonnes.

The RDN also notes that illegally dumped waste may have negative effects on the environment, including wildlife habitat, and can even impact human health.

RDN chairman Bill Veenhof said people might not be aware how easy and inexpensive recycling is in the region; a lot of your broken junk can be recycled free, some can be disposed of with minimal fees.

People should be ashamed of littering, and they seem to be, which is why they do their illegal dumping furtively along back roads and in rural areas. But we can keep an eye out, and our own pride of place can be helpful. Those who witness someone illegally dumping are asked to call the provincial Report All Poachers and Polluters line at 1-877-952-7277 (or #7277 on cellphones).

The vast majority of us care about the beauty of our region, and that includes the back roads and backwoods that we only sometimes see.

— Nanaimo News Bulletin/

Parksville Qualicum Beach News