Volunteers who helped pick up garbage and litter from Terrace’s streets and riversides collected a whopping 6,100 kilograms of trash during the city’s annual Garbathon April 28.
That’s up from previous years, says organizer Kerry Giesbrecht of the Terrace Beautification Society.
“More was collected because I think we had more of a force out there, not necessarily in urban environments,” she says.
The event brought together several organizations including the BC Conservation Officer Service, the Greater Terrace Beautification Society, SkeenaWild, and the City of Terrace. More than 200 volunteers travelled to locations across the city, along the rail tracks, and riverside sites.
The Steelhead Society of BC’s Northern Branch says they picked up one ton of trash along the riverbanks alone where some illegal dump sites are located. All the furniture they collected was found near the Copper River.
“We had more people out at the illegal dump sites along the river banks, and spots where people have just chosen to create their own [dumping site],” Giesbrecht says.
“There’s so much more we haven’t tackled. The sad reality is that people keep doing this and I don’t know how to change their mentality. It’s unfortunate.”
Illegal dumping is a long-standing problem in the area, with the problem worsening after changes in the garbage collection system resulted in the closure of the Terrace landfill and the creation of a transfer station in Thornhill. The extra costs for anything beyond regular household garbage collection hasn’t been popular.
Some new illegal dumping sites were discovered by volunteers during the day and the conservation service has launched a few new investigations. Officer Michael Geuze says in one case, volunteers found construction debris, appliances, household furniture, and garbage piled up.
“It’s definitely one of our priorities that we’re dealing with, it’s unfortunate to see,” Geuze says.
He says officers will be limiting access to easy dumping areas and continuing their investigations, letting offenders know if they’re found, they will be charged.
It’s also important the public reach out to them if they suspect any illegal activity or discover any dumping sites, he says.
“That’s our biggest help for sure. Any time there is a site reported, we investigate it.”
Tips about suspicious activity or illegal dumping can be reported to the Conservation Officer Service RAPP line at 1-877-952-7277 (RAPP) or #7277 on the TELUS Mobility Network.