Taking out the trash: Locals target illegal dumping sites

By Jeff Labine
April 20, 2017 - 12:00pm

The roads in and around the Prince Albert Landfill are looking like a dump.

Discarded soft drinks, food wrappers, broken beer bottles and other trash litters the side roads leading up to the landfill just off of Highway 2 North. Thankfully, roughly 40 volunteers were out Thursday to help clean up the illegal dumping sites.

Among them was Stan Sutor, who is an environmental investigator with the Ministry of Environment. Sutor, who has seen his fair share of illegal dumping sites, said the one near 16th Ave. W. on the edge of the city limits was one of the worst he’s seen.

“We have a bad littering issue around Prince Albert and province-wide,” he said. “We’ve cleaned up a lot of sites around the forest and have maintained those sites [by] doing our Earth Day clean up. It’s worked very well.”

He and other ministry staff members plan to clean up a total of 20 illegal sites near the Nisbet Provincial Forest. Sutor explained garbage can be harmful to not only the environment but wildlife as well.

He said staff has seen foxes with jars on their heads and ducks with six-pack rings around their necks.

“A lot of this is combined with used oil and other hazardous substances that get mixed in with household waste, which then becomes a contamination issue with the soil and groundwater,” Sutor said. “There’s a wide variety of stuff that gets dumped and it’s unsightly to start with. As soon as someone sees one pile of garbage then we get everyone dumping their garbage there.”

Sutor said the trash also provides clues to who actually did the dumping. People have discarded license plates, bills and other material that helps investigators.

Sarah Keith, the manager of landfills with the Ministry of Environment, said for Keep Prince Albert and Area Beautiful project, which includes the Nisbet Provincial Forest area, 80 illegal dumping sites were identified. So far, 64 of those sites have been cleaned up.

Keith said fewer illegal dumping sites are popping up.

“I think it’s a really positive sign,” she said. “We’re starting to see once the garbage has been picked up, there’s less tendency to continue dumping on that site. We definitely feel like it is making a positive impact.”

The ministry’s cleanup is in conjunction with Earth Day, which is on Saturday. The weekend is also when the city’s annual pitch-in week will be starting. More information can be found on the city’s website.

 

 

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