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
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.