Litter blitzes, tip lines, surveillance cameras and a rewrite of existing regulations are among the features of a new anti-dumping strategy adopted by Langley Township council Monday.
The unanimous vote came after Township solid waste co-ordinator Tess Rouse presented a report that shows the municipality spends about $400,000 a year cleaning up after people who dump things they shouldn’t in places they aren’t allowed to.
Rouse said a review of the illegal waste tracking sheets filled out by the Township staff who do the cleanups has found the problem is more severe in single-family neighbourhoods than it is in less-populated agricultural areas, with 29 per cent of illegal litter landing near farms and 38 per cent in urban areas.
“People do it just as often at the end of a cul-de-sac,” Rouse said.
Township records show the litter is mostly construction and demolition debris, yard waste, furniture and loose piles of waste.
The Township campaign is modeled on successful anti-litter initiatives in Australia, the U.S. and eastern Canada which have produced substantial drops in problem dumping.
A survey of those campaigns shows the reduction was the result of a combination of stepped-up enforcement, tip lines for witnesses to report illegal dumping, public education, and partnerships with businesses like fast food restaurant chains.
The Township campaign will do the same, adding one full-time staffer for at least a year to co-ordinate quarterly “litter blitzes” in key areas to catch offenders in the act, to review the feeds from video cameras at dumping “hot spots” and educate residents about the dumping rules, among other things.
Existing Township regulations will be re-written so officers don’t have catch people when they’re actually dumping to fine them.
Instead, penalties will be levied against “those alleged to have caused municipal solid waste and/or recyclable material to be deposited on land not within a licensed disposal facility.”
The campaign should be up and running next year at a cost of $250,000, most of that from “existing operating budgets.”