Illegal dumping is a problem in the Comox Valley. The Comox Strathcona Waste Management service has a new plan to address the issue. (File photo)

Editorial: Time for a #TrashTag spring cleaning on Vancouver Island

Heaps of clothing spilling out of garbage bags amidst grass and bushes.

We’ve all seen it at one time or another.

Heaps of clothing spilling out of garbage bags amidst grass and bushes. Broken sinks, desks and kitchen appliances glinting in the light among the trees. Paint tins, old wood, shingles and assorted other refuse pock-marked along the roadside, sad remnants of someone’s life.

The Cowichan Valley Regional District is getting on board this month with #TrashTag, an international Twitter-inspired community clean-up effort.

Groups can register, do a clean-up of a spot they know to be infested with illegally dumped trash, and then dispose of it for free, among other incentives. It’s a great idea, and one that should be adoptd by all Vancouver Island communities.

We can sadly use it after a winter of people doing everything from roadside littering as they walk or drive, figuring it will disappear into the snow, to taking truck loads of accumulated junk out to the “country” and making it everyone else’s problem.

There’s also the inexplicable decision some folks make to collect up all their yard and garden waste and illegally dump it in the woods.

A big concern that you might not have thought of is the spread of invasive species when you dump your yard and garden waste into the bush instead of disposing of it properly.

You know that broom, buttercup or parrot feather that you yanked out? You may have removed it from your property, but you effectively just set it free in an unsuspecting environment with no oversight to keep it under control.

What do you think will happen to it after that? Once again, it becomes everyone’s problem instead of just yours. And it can quickly mushroom into something that will cost us collectively thousands upon thousands of dollars and time and effort to try to fix, if it can ever really be fixed at all.

Do you really think you save if communities then have to use your tax money to clean up your mess?

It’s infuriating, since all of this garden waste can be taken to the local transfer stations for free.

So this April, be a #TrashTag-er, not an illegal dumper.

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