Litter - Illegal Dumping and Littering

Litter - Illegal Dumping and Littering


We all share the responsibility to dispose of our wastes legally and with respect for our neighbours. Unfortunately, some of us don't. From throwing out a hamburger wrapper on the highway to dumping large amounts of waste in the bush, improperly disposing of litter is not respectful of fellow citizens, wildlife or the environment and should be discouraged.  Violators create a problem that costs everyone in our city and region.  

The following is a list of different types of illegal dumping:

Litter and Improper Disposal

  • Throwing out waste on the ground or out a vehicle window.
  • Leaving waste in or near the wrong receptacle. ie: using the dumpster from a business.
  • Yard waste is still a "Waste".  Disposing of yard and garden waste other than at an approved facility is still illegal dumping.  The Alberni Valley Landfill allows free disposal of yard and garden waste such as leaves, grass and branches up to 6 cm in diameter.

Illegal Dumpsites

  • Any waste dumped at a site that is not a sanitary landfill is being dumped illegally.  Often these sites are located on vacant lots or greenspaces and are often created and used by individuals, or businesses, dumping household garbage, yard waste, construction debris or large materials that may include furniture, mattresses, appliances and junk.  Apart from destroying the natural beauty of our city and region, illegal dumping also threatens the health of humans, wildlife and the environment.

See Tickets and Fines

Tips on reporting an illegal dumpsite

The public plays a critical role in identifying and reporting illegal dumpsites and dumping incidents. To report illegal dumping within the city boundaries, please call 1-250.723.2146 or e-mail to   Be ready to provide the location of the illegal dumpsite, a description of the types of material dumped and the date that you saw the site. If you choose to leave your name and number, they will be held in confidence and will assist us in locating the site.

It is important to include as many details as possible if you are making a report regarding an illegal dumping situation.

Serious Environment violations in Progress:

Call the BC Environmental Emergency Reporting Hotline toll-free at 1-800-663-3456. This is an emergency number only to be used for reporting oil spills and other hazardous wastes dumped in environmentally sensitive areas such as streams and wetlands.

Callers should be ready to provide their name and contact phone number, location and time of the spill, type and quantity of the substance spilled; cause and effect of the spill; details of action taken or proposed; names of agencies on scene, and names of other persons or agencies advised concerning the spill.

Why worry about illegal dumping?

Illegal dumpsites pose the following health, safety, environmental and economic threats:

  • Health and safety issues
    • Injury to children playing in or around dumpsites
    • Injury to individuals in or around dumpsites
    • Disease carried by animals and insects attracted by dumpsites
  • Negative impact on the natural environment
    • Contamination of streams, rivers and lakes
    • Contamination of soil and groundwater
    • Contamination of drinking water wells in rural areas
    • Damage to plant and wildlife habitats
    • Cause of injury, disease and death for wildlife populations
  • Increased risk of fire
    • Potential of discarded glass igniting fires
    • Increased fuel for fires
    • Illegal dump fires are difficult to extinguish
    • Illegal dump fires can release harmful fumes into the atmosphere
  • Decline in property values as a result of illegal dumping
  • Loss in economic benefits attained through tourism

Alternatives to dumping

carjunk-sqAbandoned waste is unsightly and increases health and environmental risks, encourages more illegal dumping, and sends a message that illegal activity is okay in your neighbourhood.  When you dispose of items properly, and when you report illegal dumping, you help improve the quality of life in your community.  If you have an item that is not collected through you residential garbage services or through the curbside recycling program, such as a mattress, large appliance or furniture you can:

  • Donate the item to charity if it is in good condition (call first to ensure that your item is needed)

  • Try to sell or give away the item using free online services

  • Recycle the item

  • Bring the item to the landfill or a facility near you for proper disposal