Nova Scotia

Port Morien fed up with illegal dumping

An area of Cape Breton usually known for its beautiful beach and sense of community is littered with garbage, and residents are fed up.

'The biggest part of the education process is to let them know that somebody has to clean it up'

The director with the Port Morien Wildlife Association says the illegal dumpsites are unsightly and hard on the environment. (Submitted by Jeff McNeil)

An area of Cape Breton usually known for its beautiful beach and sense of community is littered with garbage, and residents are fed up.

Illegal dumping has been a problem in Port Morien, N.S., for a number of years, with torn garbage bags routinely popping up along roads, wooded areas and near waterways.

Jeff McNeil, director with the Port Morien Wildlife Association, says the mass of torn black garbage bags, used diapers, appliances and in some cases burned out cars isn't just hard to look at, it can also be hard on the environment.

"If they dump motor oil and that, some spots out that way are on well water, and the possibility for leaching into the wells is there," he said.

McNeil says contaminants can also get into brooks and streams, which hamper the wildlife association's efforts in stocking waterways with fish.

Landowners responsible for cleanup

The responsibility to clean up an illegal dumpsite often falls on landowners. McNeil says illegal dumpsites fall under the bylaw act for dangerous and unsightly premises and, even though landowners may not be aware the trash is there, they are the ones who are liable to clean up someone else's trash.

McNeil says they are focusing on education to curb the littering by using social media and local news outlets to get the word out.

"The biggest part of the education process is to let them know that somebody has to clean it up," he said.

CBRM waste management

The CBRM does heavy-garbage collection every year and McNeil says it is a big help in keeping a lot of household trash from being dumped illegally.

"If the day comes that there is no heavy garbage [pick-up], we will see a big increase in this activity," he said.

The CBRM has two waste management facilities, with the Sydney facility located on the Sydney Port Access Road.

For more information, visit the CBRM website.

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