Trash Talk

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Garbage dumpers need to be
tracked down and charged

One of my readers, Wade Chafe, sent an email on Monday raising an issue that he thinks deserves more media exposure.

Chafe was hiking a trail in the Three Pond Barrens area of Pippy Park, when he saw something that upset him.

We started on the trail that starts at Grove's Road, up near the end of the road, past the pavement, he wrote in an email. I was shocked at the amount of garbage that had been dumped there. There were three piles, containing old furniture and many bags of typical household garbage.

The garbage bags had been torn open and the garbage was strewn all over the place. This was normal household garbage. Why would it be dumped here instead of taken to the dump? Among the garbage were pieces of mail, so it is possible to determine who owned the garbage. If the authorities were to ask some of those people they might be able to determine how the garbage got there. Would you please pass this on to whomever in the media you think might be interested in following up on this?

Chafe took photos of what he encountered, and has created an image gallery for public perusal.

We were very disappointed to see people still willing to dump garbage in the woods rather than take it to the Robin Hood Bay site, Chafe said. It was particularly upsetting to see this done in an area such as the walking trails of Pippy Park. This trail is well traveled.

In some shots, Chafe zoomed in to reveal discarded mail, which could easily identify where the garbage came from. It must be added that this doesnt prove who actually dumped the garbage. However, its an excellent starting point for an investigation.

There is, after all, the possibility that identity thieves made off with the garbage, with plans of lifting personal information, possibly even Visa numbers. If that was the case, however, why hasnt the mail been removed? Why, in one image, is it still half-exposed in a torn bag, but not removed for closer inspection? It looks more like the bags have been torn open by animals.

I would really like to understand how this garbage came to be there, particularly the household garbage, Chafe said. It's one thing to dump old furniture or other things that wouldn't normally be picked up by the city, but why garbage that anyone could put out on the curb for pickup? One of my friends suggested it might be one of the companies that are contracted to collect garbage from condos. I guess my biggest concern is that this may be some contractor who's picking up garbage for people and then dumping it randomly rather than taking it to the dump and paying the tipping fee. One clue that this might be the case is the addresses on the mail I saw in the garbage Both locations far away from the dump site and both with plenty of wooded areas to dump in close to home.

Chafe does have a good question, when he asks about laying charges. Would police be eager to pursue a prosecution, when those who possibly dumped the garbage may be identified? I posed this question in an email to Paul Clay, media relations officer with the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary.

I believe it would be a municipal enforcement matter primarily, Davis said, in a reply that he cautioned was preliminary. That doesn't mean we would not assist the municipality. Having a letter doesn't mean that person was responsible. It would be a lead no less.

As for media, many journalists read this blog, so Chafe can consider them duly informed. However, Im pleased to say media are already giving this issue some attention.

The Telegrams Russell Wangersky revisits the problem pretty much every time he emerges, flybitten and sore, from the Newfoundland wilderness. He addressed it, as eloquently as ever, in a recent column.

As well, the CBC Radio Morning Show is in the midst of a promotion, mobilizing local volunteers to get out and clean up the countryside. I also recall Anne Budgell, former host of CBC Radio Noon, raising a fine stink about dumping of trash in the wilderness. There may be other coverage I havent seen, or cant remember.

Yes, the media are on top of this issue. I just wish the perpetrators could be identified and brought to justice.

(On an unrelated note, I suggest anyone who hikes these trails on the city periphery bring along a stout walking stick, for protection. A friend of mine was once attacked by a pack of feral dogs, on the trail between Kenmount Road and Thorburn Road.)

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