Illegal Dumping has become a routine concern for Mission residents; the issue visibly growing over the years along with our population, and not only in our rural ditches and brownfields, but in urban streets and green spaces. The overwhelming majority is household and construction waste, likely from small businesses and households unwilling to travel to our landfill or pay the appropriate fees.
"Education is part of the problem", explains MESS Executive Director, Sophie Thomas,"but it's a multi-level issue with a multi-level solution. We're fortunate in Mission to have reasonable landfill fees in comparison to other areas of the Fraser Valley but still people cite the fees as a reason for the dumping. In extraordinary situations this may be true, but generally, we suspect it's a lack of correct information or a matter of not caring."
Information on landfill fees and disposal locations is available on the District of Mission website.
Illegal dumping creates serious issues for homeowners looking to sell, decreases walk-in business for local business-owners, invites crime such as graffiti and property damage, and creates an environmental disaster. "Mercury from florescent bulbs and carcinogenic materials from construction waste leach into waterways while bags and other items block stream flow resulting in flooding," Thomas explains. "This is costly to taxpayers and a real issue Mission businesses and homeowners should not ignore."
Illegal dumping is on the rise across the Fraser Valley with some cities identifying an almost 20% increase over a single calendar year. Many large item pick-up programs in neighbouring communities have failed in the past with the majority of residents being unaware that the service was even available. The District of Mission implemented a Spring Clean-up program over 20 years ago which provides extra pick-up to residents, restricted to 2 cubic meters (2 cubic meter is the equivalent of 12 bags of waste, 2 stoves, or 2 arm chairs/1 couch).
This widely utilized program has resulted in some unintended practices such as placing bins out too early or refusing to bring in items that were not accepted. Both behaviours result in wide-spread litter. As such, MESS has moved the dates of their own Spring Clean-up Fundraisers to help clear the litter as quickly as possible but ideally residents would change this habit.
To learn more about what you can do to prevent and reduce littering in your neighbourhood visit the MESS website at www.messociety.org.
For more information on Illegal Dumping please read the Overview on Illegal Dumping in BC.
Dewdney Trunk Road, Mission, BC (now cleared)