Litter on the sidewalk, an old couch abandoned at the side of the road, bags of trash in the ditch — illegal dumping is rampant in the Township.
Litter is an eyesore, it is hazardous to the environment and public safety, and it costs taxpayers over $400,000 a year.
This week, the Township of Langley is launching a new education campaign to address the problem.
The campaign is called “#idiot” and the letters in the word idiot stand for Illegal Dumper In Our Township.
The message? Don’t be one.
It is a strong message, and one the Township realizes may raise a few eyebrows, but staff launching the campaign feel it will have an equally strong impact on what has become a serious and costly issue.
“In workshops during the campaign development, we asked the public what they wanted to see in an illegal dumping education campaign,” said Ryan Schmidt, manager of energy and solid waste.
“They wanted a direct, honest, engaging campaign that addresses the true size of the problem. We need a bold statement for a big problem.”
The campaign is designed to work both by capturing the public’s attention and delivering the resources people need, whether they are a citizen looking to report an offender, someone needing information on proper disposal options, or an illegal dumper who could use a warning about the penalty for dumping — which is $500.
The #idiot campaign is not just about education.
New enforcement resources are also being allocated to investigate illegal dump sites, find and fine offenders, and produce results.
“Thousands of Township residents properly dispose of waste every day,” said Roeland Zwaag, Director of Public Works.
“Unfortunately, many taxpayers have been footing the bill for the illegal dumpers who don’t take responsibility for their waste. This is our community. We don’t want illegal dumping in our Township and we will work together to stop it.”
New methods for reporting illegal dumpers will also be part of the campaign, and residents are encouraged to get involved, take ownership, and most importantly, take action.
Residents who find illegally dumped waste or witness illegal dumping taking place can call the reporting hotline at 1-844-SEE-DUMP (733-3867) or visit tol.ca/illegaldumping.
Members of the public looking for proper disposal options for their waste can also visit tol.ca/illegaldumping for more information.
Residents who are getting into the spirit of the campaign to keep the Township clean and safe have the chance to win a prize from various sponsors.
To enter, take a picture of yourself, your family, or friends properly disposing of garbage, recycling, or organic waste, then tag “don’t be an #idiot” and share on Instagram (@illegaldumpingtol), Twitter (@LangleyTownship) or Facebook (facebook.com/LangleyTownship).
The #idiot campaign is part of the Litter and Illegal Waste Management Strategy that Township of Langley Council approved in 2015. The Strategy was developed with input from the public and research from around the globe.
Founded on the three pillars of education, infrastructure, and enforcement, it focuses on proactive management approaches.