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Whose garbage in whose backyard?
By Fred Ryan, PONTIAC JOURNAL DU PONTIAC

This edition of the Journal contains a twenty-page flyer from the pro­moters of a large, regional landfill site near Danford Lake. The document is informative and positive; all our readers should study it. Questions about the con­cept of this project, and its real-time effects - good and bad - should interest us all, no matter where we live in the Pontiac. This site will be the destination for most of our garbage, and it is our water table that the project may threaten.

The challenge the pro­moters pose to us is, given that we all produce garbage and that our garbage must go some­where, shouldn't we accept ownership of the problem of disposing of our own garbage? We cannot con­tinue polluting our local soil, watercourses, and the air we breathe with our local dumps. We can no longer expect that it will be trucked away...to some­where else.

But this is exactly what the promoters are propos­ing. They are offering to truck our garbage, and the city of Gatineau's (and who knows how much else) ... to Danford Lake. Trucking it 200 kms or twenty is still trucking it away; this is still an "out of sight, out of mind" propos­al, even if the new site is the most modern, by today's standards, using the highest-tech equipment, materials, and processes.

Dumps trick us into thinking there is no waste problem; they are not the solution, near or far, messy or supertech.

The real alternative to trucking garbage to Lachute or Danford or burning it outside town is to reduce our garbage tremendously and to recy­cle everything possible. Maybe part of the solution would be for us con­sumers to buy and use only materials that can be recycled. If it can't be recycled, we shouldn't buy it. This includes packaging, which makes up a large part of our waste.

Such a reduce-and-recycle plan will cost plen­ty but so does picking up garbage and trucking it to a dump or a super dump.

Hiding, our payments for this service in our taxes doesn't teach us anything; waste disposal should be a clear user-pay system. Those creating the waste should pay to recycle it both the manufacturer and the consumer.

We consumers could pay a per-bag fee for waste pick up, with high fines for illegal disposal; many North American municpalities charge a dollar or two per every bag picked up. The producer or manu­facturer pays by making products that are less wasteful and which have less packaging and the producers must also pay to have the products returned to them for recycling. European countries apply these measures.

A manufacturer might contract out the recycling phase of their manufactur­ing process, but recycling must be considered and fac­tored into all plans and financials Companies have to take back all that they produce and sell. The same system that transports, warehouses and retails products can also work in reverse, taking the products back for recycling after they have run their useful life.

This will create jobs; better jobs than one or two local dump supervisors or twenty employees at a single mega-landfill. This is called turn­ing our landfills into jobs. Its also called ending landfills, period.

This is how we, the con­sumers, will solve the garbage problem, and how the manufacturers will solve the problem. It's our problem to solve. Danford's residents and council have this decision in their hands, but whatever they decide it should be done knowing' that dumps in any form are not the answer.

Trucking garbage around isn't solving our garbage problem. Reducing garbage will.

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  Droit d'auteur © 2006 Coalition contre le mégadépotoir de Danford. Tous droits réservés.