Editorial: Illegal dumping disrespectful

Out of sight, out of mind? Unfortunately, too many people still have that attitude and persist with illegal dumping.

All of us in Nanaimo should count ourselves fortunate that our city interfaces with the wilderness. The forests are our neighbourhood and most of us respect that relationship, but too many still don’t. Furniture, tires, rusted metal, scrap wood, whatever – just because we don’t tie it up in a garbage bag doesn’t mean it’s not garbage.

Those who dump illegally are disrespectful and selfish because they’re just leaving it to someone else to pick up after them. River, shoreline and underwater cleanup groups, outdoor recreation clubs and Doumont Restoration Project volunteers all participate in cleanups, even though there are probably other ways they could be spending their time.

According to the Regional District of Nanaimo, 42 tonnes of illegally dumped material had to be recovered and properly disposed of in 2012. Throwing garbage in the woods isn’t just unsightly, it can also damage and even poison animal and fish habitats.

Illegal dumping of yard scraps isn’t as egregious, but it can encourage others to cheat. Even folks in well-to-do neighbourhoods wheelbarrow their hedge trimmings into the woods, sometimes under cover of night, and they look ridiculous.

Are illegal dumpers trying to prove a point? Tipping fees are too high, so they won’t comply? We disagree. We should absolutely pay a premium for our role in cramming our landfills and leaving behind a big ol’ pile of garbage on our planet.

In 2014, people who dump illegally are pariahs and should be made to feel that way. It’s easy to report incidents; the RDN has an online form and has been known to issue hefty fines. At the very least, we should glare at offenders; if we’d like to do more, we can join a cleanup effort.

When it comes to trash, there’s no such thing as out of sight, out of mind. We see it, and we mind.

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