Staff from Compliance and Enforcement and the Wildfire Management Branch put on their gloves and removed approximately 1,432 kilograms (3,157 lbs) of garbage and 454 kg (1,000 lbs) of metal that had been illegally-dumped onto the forest floor, thereby restoring it to its natural and pristine condition (link to photos attached below).
Irresponsible people had been illegally dumping garbage in the forest along Airport Way, about 15 km south of Revelstoke, over the past several decades. The garbage - that included used tires, fridges and old furniture - had been piling up to the point that Columbia Field Unit compliance and enforcement staff and Columbia Unit Crew firefighters took time away from their regular duties to remove all the garbage. Now that the forest is clean and green again, staff hope the public will help keep it that way for everyone's enjoyment.
Government compliance and enforcement staff regularly patrol problem areas, but unfortunately it's often hard to catch people in the act. British Columbia has a 55,000-kilometre network of Forest Service roads - that's bigger than the provincial highway system - so it's difficult to patrol. That's why the public is encouraged to report any offenders.
Observe suspected offenders and record details such as the time, location, descriptions of persons and vehicles, including licence plate numbers, and report the information to the closest Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations regional office. They can also call the Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) line at 1 877 952-7277 (1 877 952-RAPP).
A violator illegally dumping could face stiff penalties:
- Under section 12 of the Environmental Management Act, compliance and enforcement staff/conservation officers can issue penalties up to $2,000 and/or up to six months in jail. The offender can also be made to pay the costs of clean up and disposal of the waste. Through the courts, if it is found that the littering causes harm to the environment or poses a human health or safety risk, penalties can be up to $3 million and/or three years in jail.
- Dumping glass, metal, garbage, soil or other substance is also an offence under Section 67 of the Land Act. A person found committing this offence may be arrested, without warrant, by municipal or provincial police and jailed for up to 60 days. Charges of up to $20,000 could also be laid.
Government Communications and Public Engagement