The numbers are obscene.
As the PQB News has reported, last year the Regional District of Nanaimo collected 74 tonnes of illegally dumped waste.
This represented a spike, given that during the last five years, the average was 62 tonnes.
Again, just obscene.
We run countless stories regarding cleanup efforts. Wonderful groups removing tonnes of waste from Little Mountain and other local areas. But we’d rather not run any. More must be done to combat the problem.
The RDN has noted an increase in the aforementioned cleanup efforts from individual and community groups. Tipping fees are waived for the work that they do.
The regional district has also hired a contractor to do the cleanups and last year, they addressed 11 sites located mainly on Crown land. RDN staff spend about 100 hours to clean up three to five tonnes of illegally dumped waste annually.
Wonderful. But what will the numbers be like next time? If local bottle depots are no longer taking residential recycling, where does that go?
With limited local options, are people willing to travel to recycle, or will that become added to the illegal dumping?
PQB residents need more options, not fewer.
In Electoral Area F (Coombs, Hilliers, Errington) the RDN bylaw officers investigated 10 cases last year. Area G (French Creek, Dashwood, Englishman River) and Area H (Shaw Hill, Qualicum Bay, Deep Bay and Bowser) each had 11 complaints that were dealt with.
It’s difficult to fathom the thought process of those who choose to dump items illegally. Too lazy to go to the dump? Too cheap? Hiding something?
A report for the RDN notes the dumping has serious effects on the environment, wildlife habitat and the ability for residents to enjoy their surroundings and outdoor recreational activities.
It has to stop.
The RDN does have plans to combat the issue, including surveillance and mapping of sites and including placing warning signs.
Is it reaching the point where we need to set up cameras along our backroads? Bigger rewards for information leading to convictions?
In the end, it might be cheaper than having to deal with endless cleanup efforts.
Definitely, harsher penalties need to be enacted for the scofflaws.