A recent photo of an illegal dumpsite discovered by a resident of the Sunshine Coast has gone viral on Facebook.
Around noon on Wednesday, Becky Wayte’s photo had been shared more than 600 times and had received some 8,000 comments. As for the effort to track down the garbage’s owner, “there is a receipt.”
The story is one heard time and again on the Sunshine Coast. Wayte was hiking through the woods when she discovered the pile of garbage.
“I get so sick of seeing garbage up in the bush,” she said.
From appliances and mattresses to discarded vehicles, garbage and illegal dumps are a common sight on the back roads of the Coast.
The Sunshine Coast Regional District’s (SCRD) inaugural Trash Bash removed some 14 tonnes of illegal waste from the forest in May.
Wayte said she discovered the waste off Trout Lake Road, in an area frequented by dumpers. Last year, the hiking aficionado found discarded kitchen items in the same location, items that “could have been taken to the thrift store” at no cost.
The latest pile was harkened by a freezer, which stood atop a hill along the power line’s path just near the road.
At first, Wayte was hesitant to report the dump, but ultimately opted to contact the SCRD after she posted the item to Facebook.
“It’s disgusting. It makes me frustrated that people don’t get it that this is our wilderness and what they dump out there affects everything,” she said.
Wayte has been careful not to disclose the person identified by the receipt she discovered among the trash, but a copy has been forwarded to the SCRD, she said.
Illegal dumping can occur when someone is paid to dispose of waste and instead opts to leave it in the woods, rather than pay the dump’s rising tipping fees, meaning a receipt cannot always serve as a smoking gun for finding the garbage’s owner.
Tipping fees on the Coast are expected to rise continually as the SCRD moves closer to its ultimate goal of zero waste.
Comments on Wayte’s thread echoed feelings of anger, calling upon her to post the receipt and identify the individual associated with the dump. She has so far refused.
“I’d post the name,” one commenter wrote, edited for grammar. “Shame on those who litter our beautiful planet. This is our home and the home of generations to come.”
Bethany Brooks, an environmental technician with the SCRD, said many residents have taken it upon themselves to clean up the dumps.
“We don’t have enough budget to clean up the reported sites. We do education around the issue and provide resources to residents,” she said. “Under the current bylaw system, we have to see the dumping happening in order to write a ticket, which is limiting as we don’t have sufficient enforcement staff.”