Port Alberni is categorized as a “red zone” community by the province as it often exceeds provincial standards for Particulate Matter 2.5, created through the combustion process of burning.
In early February, the first beautiful weekend arrived in the Valley, drawing many people out to clean up their yards and burn the debris. Unfortunately, this caused an air quality advisory the following Monday morning. There’s an obvious connection between the air quality advisories, beautiful weekends and backyard burning.
Effective May 22, rates for residents bringing branches to the Alberni Valley Landfill changed to just $5 per load. For residents with branch or yard waste material, loads of any size are accepted at the landfill for a flat rate of $5 per load.
Grass and leaves can still be dropped off free of charge, but mixed loads of yard waste will be charged the $5 rate. This low, flat rate is intended to reduce costs for residents bringing branches to the landfill, recover some of the costs for chipping this material, and encourage residents to combine their loads as much as possible to reduce traffic to the landfill.
Commercial businesses will be still be charged at a rate of $120/tonne for branches.
The first in a series of free drop-off initiatives just occurred within the Valley and more will be coming throughout the year. These initiatives are supported by the FireSmart BC, which focuses on reducing the risk of wildfire on properties in the community.
The waste management hierarchy
The waste management hierarchy is a set of priorities for the efficient use of resources, including the management of all disposal options in the most environmentally responsible manner. The very bottom of the waste management hierarchy (beneath landfill) is illegal dumping and burning.
Dumping of any sort is illegal and can cause irreparable harm. This includes driving out into the bush to dispose of your weeds, branches and other collections as it can transfer disease and introduce invasive species into the natural environment.
Beyond yard waste, the sides of trails in Port Alberni are too often littered with old TVs, scrap metal, renovation leftovers, to name a few. Typically, most of the items found can be recycled free of charge or at minimal cost.
Burning garbage causes toxic chemicals to be released into the atmosphere as burning hydrocarbons causes health implications for all, especially those who are compromised with respiratory issues. Burning yard waste (leaves, branches, and garden pruning) also has a negative impact on our Valley.
The reduction in fees provides people with a viable option to illegal dumping and burning. For more information on local recycling services you can refer to the ACRD website at www.acrd.bc.ca/recycling or look check out the Facebook page: Alberni Valley Waste Reduction Education.