Another emergency cleanup at the Vedder Canal was thrown together last Friday by volunteers with the Fraser Valley Illegal Garbage Dumping Alliance in Chilliwack.
“We cleaned it up two weeks ago and now it’s a major dump again,” said Chris Gadsden, a member of the Alliance, and one of the founding members of the Fraser Valley Salmon Society and the Chilliwack-Vedder River Cleanup Coalition.
The site was one of several they tackled last week, bagging up 260 kilograms of carelessly tossed trash in a riparian zone which won’t be washing downstream now due to their efforts.
Gadsden fired off an email to the BC Conservation Officer Service before heading to the cleanup.
“If one of you could come that way to discuss getting some cameras up that would be great,” Gadsden wrote in a message to the CO.
He was referring to trail cameras with motion detectors used in some high-use areas in the back country where illegal dumping has occurred. It’s geared to catching the perpetrators in the act and identifying them for the purposes of ticketing under the BC Environmental Management Act.
Conservation Officer Eric Tyukodi caught up with Gadsden the next day at the site at the Vedder canal to see if it could be considered for cameras.
“Illegal dumping is epidemic in the Fraser Valley – and chronic,” Tyukodi told The Progress.
He knows how frustrating it is for citizens who enjoy and respect the back country, who get out there to hike, and fish to see the environment abused.
“When we see garbage dumped that wouldn’t have cost all that much to dispose of properly, well it’s laziness frankly,” he said.
RAPP is a toll-free tip line and online service that also allows folks to report known or suspected violations of fisheries, wildlife, or environmental protection laws. They can report the details anonymously and without risk of confronting the offender. Just don’t go rooting through any trash bags if you find them, the CO said, because they could have needles in them.
In terms of trail cameras, Tyukodi said, they do “work well,” but usually they need more than one to get a good shot of a suspect, and the licence plate of the vehicle coming and going.
However it’s impossible to have cameras at every hotspot, so people need to keep reporting the dump sites and illegal activity as much as possible. So what happens if a citizen sees someone dumping garbage in the bush somewhere? Call the RAPP line.
“If someone were to catch someone actively dumping on a forest service road, obviously the most helpful thing would be to get an accurate description of the person, the vehicle and the plate and to call it in,” the CO said.
Be descriptive as possible when leaving a message on the RAPP line, and if in a position to snap a photo, do so “extremely cautiously” and do not confront the suspect, he added.
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