Comox Strathcona Waste Management (CSWM) has launched a new program aimed at preventing illegal dumping across the region.
Illegal dumping is a growing problem in the CSWM service area with more than 500 illegal dump sites documented since 2012. Illegal dumping harms the environment and can have serious, long-lasting impacts on our region.
Earlier this year, the CSWM board approved a new illegal dumping prevention program which includes a public education and awareness campaign and a new illegal dumping bylaw to ensure there is consistent enforcement across the CSWM service area.
The program is based on extensive research of programs and policies in other jurisdictions and is now being rolled out across the region.
“It’s important we have a consistent approach across our entire service area,” said Michael Dinesen, Bylaw Compliance Officer and Illegal Dumping Program co-ordinator. “We want to have a proactive approach that helps to educate people on the hazards of illegal dumping while also having enforcement options available to deal with those caught improperly disposing of materials.”
A new reporting line has also been set up, so people can report illegal dump sites.
The bylaw compliance officer will be able to conduct investigations to try to identify those who have dumped illegally and take enforcement action, including issuing tickets.
“It is important people understand that it is against the law to improperly dispose of waste,” said Dinesen. “It’s also important people understand it’s not just the person dumping that is responsible, it’s the person who owns the material. If you ask someone to dump for you, you can be fined as well.”
As part of the program, two educational videos have been created to illustrate what constitutes illegal dumping, how it is posing a threat to our region and how to report an illegal dumper. The videos will be shared via social media and are available online at www.cswm.ca/illegaldumping
Dinesen says an important message that needs to come across is that most commonly dumped materials can be properly disposed of for little to no cost, either at CSWM waste management facilities or through other recycling and disposal options, such as Return-It centres. For example, large appliances such as washers, dryers, stoves and microwaves can be dropped off at waste management centres with no disposal fee, while appliances with Freon can be dropped off for $19. Small appliances and electronics can be dropped off at Return-it depots for free.
“Blaming the cost of tipping fees for illegal dumping is not only unreasonable, but in many cases is completely inaccurate, considering many of the most commonly dumped items can be disposed of at the landfill for little to no cost.
For more information on the illegal dumping program, visit www.cswm.ca/illegaldumping. To report an illegal dump, or someone improperly disposing of materials, call 1-800-331-6007.