Anti-dump­ing/anti-lit­ter­ing strate­gies should be ad­dressed

The crime of il­le­gal dump­ing hap­pens in tan­dem with the wide­spread lit­ter­ing we see ev­ery­day in all of the ur­ban ar­eas within the CBRM

Cape Breton Post - - Editorial - Jim Guy Po­lit­i­cal In­sights Dr. Jim Guy, au­thor and pro­fes­sor emer­i­tus of po­lit­i­cal sci­ence at Cape Bre­ton Univer­sity, can be reached for com­ment at

One of the things we do very well in Cape Bre­ton is make garbage, some­thing Jerry Se­in­feld sar­cas­ti­cally calls “trashifi­ca­tion.” By that he meant al­most ev­ery­thing we own will even­tu­ally be­come our trash. The CBRM Waste Man­age­ment fa­cil­ity does a pretty good job pick­ing it up and even­tu­ally dis­pos­ing of it.

Un­for­tu­nately, a lot of our trash is dumped il­le­gally onto our ru­ral roads and beaches, of­ten be­yond the ca­pac­ity of Waste Man­age­ment to deal with it ef­fec­tively. The re­cent dis­cov­ery of nu­mer­ous hy­po­der­mic nee­dles scat­tered on the beaches of Glace Bay and Do­min­ion is a dis­turb­ing di­men­sion of il­le­gal dump­ing.

In spite of ef­forts to con­trol garbage in the CBRM, il­le­gal dump­ing is a now an un­de­sir­able growth in­dus­try in our deficit econ­omy. In the past few years, po­lice have iden­ti­fied some 700 il­le­gal dump sites through­out the ru­ral ar­eas of the CBRM. It’s cost­ing tax pay­ers to col­lect it and dis­pose of it ev­ery year, not only here but through­out the prov­ince.

A new po­lice re­port fo­cuses on il­le­gal dump­ing in 89 of these sites. The crime of il­le­gal dump­ing hap­pens in tan­dem with the wide­spread lit­ter­ing we see ev­ery­day in all of the ur­ban ar­eas within the CBRM. We barely pay at­ten­tion to it. How­ever, it is ob­served by vis­i­tors.

The new buzz­word in the the CBRM is “re­vi­tal­iza­tion.” It is an op­por­tu­nity for us to link the ap­par­ent im­prove­ment of our com­mu­ni­ties with an an­tidump­ing/anti-lit­ter­ing strat­egy. The re­vi­tal­iza­tion plans cur­rently un­der­way for Sydney, Glace Bay, Re­serve Mines and Do­min­ion should in­clude a de­lib­er­ate strat­egy to at­tack the per­sis­tent and grow­ing prob­lem of il­le­gal dump­ing and lit­ter­ing.

Re­vi­tal­iza­tion is an op­por­tu­nity to make the pub­lic more aware of how se­ri­ous this prob­lem is ev­ery­where within the CBRM. We tend to re­gard lit­ter­ing and dump­ing as sep­a­rate and dis­con­nected is­sues from re­gional de­vel­op­ment. But re­vi­tal­iza­tion re­flects a pub­lic at­ti­tude of change about the out­ward ap­pear­ance of our com­mu­ni­ties. We are what you see!

Prince Ed­ward Is­land has been much more suc­cess­ful than Nova Sco­tia in deal­ing with dis­carded garbage by link­ing it di­rectly to suc­cess­ful tourism. In the CBRM we are only now com­ing to the re­al­iza­tion that tourists see what is al­most in­vis­i­ble to us. Those thou­sands of tourists who dis­em­bark from cruise ships should not see a “drop” of lit­ter or dis­carded garbage shortly af­ter they land.

In ad­di­tion to merg­ing a re­vi­tal­iza­tion plan with an an­tidump­ing and lit­ter­ing strat­egy, there is the op­tion of strength­en­ing le­gal penal­ties against vi­o­la­tors. In ju­ris­dic­tions that have been suc­cess­ful deal­ing with these crimes se­vere penal­ties are pow­er­ful de­ter­rents.

Peo­ple who are ap­pre­hended lose the ve­hi­cles they use for sig­nif­i­cant pe­ri­ods to de­liver the garbage they dump. That in­cludes los­ing their driv­ing priv­i­leges in ad­di­tion to sub­stan­tial fines.

Fines in­clude the costs of clean­ing the area where garbage is dumped. And if toxic ma­te­ri­als are dumped the costs to re­me­di­ate the land are in­cluded, plus ad­di­tional fines. It soon gets around that throw­ing garbage out of your car or truck is not worth it.

The CBRM has done just about ev­ery­thing a com­mu­nity and its

govern­ment can do to end the in­ci­dence of dump­ing and lit­ter­ing. It’s time for the prov­ince and this mu­nic­i­pal­ity to lay out the tough­est le­gal frame­work against vi­o­la­tors.


Garbage dumped in the woods in Cas­tle Bay near Eskasoni in a photo taken last Fri­day.


Sig­nage alerts, but doesn’t pre­vent il­le­gal dump­ing.

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