Let's Stop Illegal Dumping, Op-ed
June 7, 2012 11:14 AM
NOTE: The following is an op-ed piece from Minister of Environment Sterling Belliveau.
Roadside ditches, sidewalks, parks, woods, rivers and shorelines in Nova Scotia are littered with solid waste that doesn't belong there.
One of the most damaging, unnecessary and costly forms of litter is illegal dumping. Illegal dumping is just that – illegal. Yet each year Department of Environment staff respond to hundreds of complaints involving solid waste, many involving illegal dumping of garbage.
Because of your efforts to separate and sort solid waste resources for recycling and composting instead of disposal, our province is a recognized world leader in diverting our solid waste resources away from landfills.
All municipalities have recycling, composting and waste removal programs. In addition, facilities throughout Nova Scotia accept solid waste and recyclables, ranging from batteries to old stoves. In short, there is simply no excuse for illegal dumping.
Illegally disposing of waste doesn't just affect the natural beauty of our province. Materials can contain substances that pose a threat to the environment, wildlife and even human health. For example, almost half of Nova Scotians rely on wells for their drinking water, and illegal dumping can threaten the quality and safety of drinking water supplies.
The Department of Environment makes every effort to pursue the people who illegally dump their waste, but it is often a challenge to prove who committed the crime. This means that the responsibility for cleaning up materials that pose a threat to the environment often falls on property owners. We understand that this can be costly and frustrating.
Last year, Environment Department staff carried out nearly 600 solid waste inspections, resulting in 141 enforcement actions including directives, warnings, summary offense tickets and charges through the courts.
The people of Nova Scotia are the reason for our province's success in recycling and composting programs. I encourage all Nova Scotians to help put a stop to illegal dumping. If you see suspicious activity, please take note of the details including make of vehicle, licence plate number, descriptions of those involved and call local police or the Department of Environment's emergency after-hours number 1-800-565-1633.
Let's put an end to illegal dumping. We are leaders in solid waste resource diversion, and with your help we can also be leaders in litter prevention. Together we can ensure that solid waste resources are handled responsibly and appropriately, protecting the environment and health of all the people of Nova Scotia.
Media Contact: Lori Errington
Department of Environment