“Plink . .  . plink.”

The shots from their Daisy airguns rang out as ‘Bo’ and Tim strategically picked out some old soup cans in a pile of junk dumped next to the river where they often fished for trout. At the age of 15, Bo didn’t realize (or care) that it was an illegal dumpsite, but he did wonder why someone did that. However, the thought immediately vanished as he let out a whoop upon obliterating the top of a pop bottle with another well-aimed shot. 

That dumpsite remained there for decades, and who knows what or how many contaminants found their way into the surrounding ecosystem. Bo, now a grown man, shakes his head at the countless illegal dumping sites in the province. What a disgraceful blight on the landscape. What an affront to the environment, whittled away by irresponsible people. The audacity that some individuals show towards our ecology is shameful. 

Landfills were created for a reason – to deal with our waste responsibly. And while tipping fees can be a turnoff, they are necessary to maintain these operations. In the old days you could dump anything for free and take home any items you found – record players (that still worked), old toys, magazines and furniture. You just had to keep your eye out for the black bears that were lining up for the smorgasbord. 

Sadly, illegal dumping has become more of a problem in Canada, even right here in the Columbia Valley. For example, Toby Benches and north along the unpaved section of Westside Road. Recently someone dumped a pile of mechanical gear, garage waste, old plastic tarps and car batteries; an act of blatant disrespect in our community. But you never know who’s watching.

In one documented case of illegal dumping in the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen, a resident reported that someone dumped a pile of garbage in a rural area. A bylaw enforcement officer had the gumption to open the bags and go through them like a hungry pack rat. Bingo! He found bills and invoices leading him straight to the culprit. In the end, the perpetrator had to come back to the site and clean up his mess. Embarrassing or what!

Bo hasn’t picked up an airgun since he was a kid. Instead, he picks up beer cans on the side of the road because that’s his recycling money, and it’s good for the environment. Bo is also cheap. He’s got an old mattress in his backyard with a bulls-eye drawn on it – great for archery practice. Yes, it’s a bit unsightly, but he plans to recycle the mattress when the city’s bulky item collection day rolls around. It’s all good.

Any illegal dumping on Crown land should be reported to 1-877-952-7277. Be good to Mother Earth and she will be good to you.

Lyonel Doherty, editor