Letters: Illegal dumping concerns EMCS students

EMCS Environmental Studies students help clean up dump sites

We are 25 Edward Milne community schools Environmental Studies students who would like to see an end to the illegal dumping of wastes in and around our beloved Sooke.

Our exploration of Sooke’s supernatural backyard has revealed some horrific dumping grounds. We’ve seen everything from appliances and mattresses to run of the mill household garbage.  All of these sites have been near rivers and creeks and we worry about toxins leaching into local water systems, harming salmon spawning grounds and transporting plastics into the ocean. We are also concerned for local wildlife that might consume bits of plastic or be poisoned by leaching toxins.

Our class decided to clean-up Sooke’s worst dumpsites located at the gate to Butler Main Road. Sooke Disposal kindly donated a massive bin for us to use. At first glance, we thought the clean-up would entail hauling out the mattresses, plastics and drywall on the side of the road. However, when we moved into the bush, we were mortified by the amount and type of refuse there.  We pulled out more than 20 tires, gallons of paint cans and used motor oil, furniture, bags of household garbage including kitchen and toilet waste, hundreds of Keurig coffee cups and aerosol cans.  We removed layers of garbage unearthing older layers beneath.

“How could somebody do this?” we asked ourselves.

Our class feels good about our clean-up efforts but we also know that we must stop future dumping. Presently, there is a maximum $2,000 fine from the CRD for dumping if a culprit is caught.  Capturing individuals can be difficult as the dumping occurs late at night and CRD resources are limited.

It is our hope that bringing public awareness to this problem may help hinder illegal dumping. Sooke residents can recycle electronics at the Salvation Army for no charge. Also for free, Sooke Disposal will take appliances, automotive batteries, paint and aerosol cans. EMCS is also collecting scrap metal in our parking lot for the next month.

We are asking our community to help bring better awareness to this issue so that we might preserve Sooke’s natural beauty for all!

EMCS Environmental Studies Class 2015