The Comox Strathcona waste management (CSWM) service recently contracted Wedler Engineering LLP, in partnership with Project Watershed, to map illegal dump sites in the Comox Valley and Strathcona regional districts.
This initiative’s first step was to meet with stakeholders (including private industry, landowners, environment groups, community volunteers and local government) to explore and get feedback around the present situation, to identify efforts to combat the issue and to strategize ways to halt illegal dumping in the area.
“We have recently hosted two stakeholder meetings — one in the Comox Valley and the other in Campbell River,” said Sonya Jenssen, project lead with Wedler Engineering. “The information that has been brought forward has been extremely helpful.
“We can utilize all the work that has already been done to identify sites, to provide us with a better idea of how wide-spread this problem really is in this region.”
The next step is to reach out to the public by providing the tools to be part of the solution. A Facebook group page Help Prevent Illegal Dumping has been created as a place where concerned citizens can join to support the project, by sharing photos and information including GPS co-ordinates to expand the current database.
The second tool is a worldwide application called TrashOut that can be downloaded to a smartphone. This app allows users to start reporting illegal dump sites by taking a photo of it, and commenting with additional information as such as size and type of material. The report will then appear in a TrashMap.
“By dumping illegally, violators create a problem that goes deeper than the cost of the cleanup of the sites. It can also have serious effects on the environment, wildlife habitat and the ability of community members to use and enjoy outdoor recreational areas,” said Vince Van Tongeren, engineering analyst for CSWM service. “We have an opportunity with the project to identify where the real issues are and how best to manage the situation now and into the future.”
For more information on the project and to learn more about illegal dumping, visit www.cswm.ca/illegaldumping. Residents can also send photos of illegal dump sites for mapping to firstname.lastname@example.org.
— Comox Strathcona Waste Management