A working group within environmental law enforcement has formed to tackle illegal garbage dump sites and stop the people behind the clandestine dumping.
"Everyone brings different resources to the table," said Sgt. Rory Smith of the Conservation Service. "Alone we struggle to make much of a difference, but together we can have an impact."
Instead of disposing of their trash at approved locations, some dump their garbage in the bush. Often, the dumped items go beyond common household trash to include environmentally destructive or dangerous materials. Some sites are piled with degrading refrigerators, bags of trash, paint or fuels or other chemicals, decaying furniture, and even vehicles.
"They exist throughout the Omineca region, so we are mapping their locations, prioritizing them, and picking them off one by one as resources are available," said Smith. "Most people would never dream of doing something like that, but many do and that has to change or the dangers to the environment and the public are going to continue. The regional district has done a good job of placing dump-sites around the greater Prince George area so it's just lazy. You don't have to dump in the bush."
The agencies involved with the Conservation Service in this working group includes the Regional District of Fraser Fort George, City of Prince George, Ministry of Forest, Lands and Natural Resources and Ministry of Environment.
Smith said communities have also done a great deal to help. In some places, volunteer groups and community associations have banded together to help with the cleanup. In one case, a corporation stepped in with heavy equipment and workers.
"Carrier Lumber was in the process of doing improvements to the Willow Cale Forest Service Road, and when they were looking for a spot to dump their dirt and rocks they came across a place that had been an illegal dumps site apparently for a long time," said Smith. "They took it upon themselves to clean it up. They had trucks and loaders and a lot of people involved, all co-ordinated by their woods supervisor Terry Woodland."
The working group meets about every three months and they hope more community groups and private citizens join their effort to clean up the bush. Anyone with ideas can contact the group through Smith's email: Rory.Sm...@gov.bc.ca.