BRIDGEPORT — There is one clue about the most recent illegal dumper — a hankering for chicken.
Dylan Yates, founder of the Cape Breton Environmental Association, said two hours after about 50 people spent hours cleaning up Bridgeport beach, someone dumped bags of open garbage that includes a huge pile of KFC and Tim Hortons debris.
“It’s sickening,” Yates said.
“To go clean an area and then not even two hours later after leaving there’s people down there dumping already? It puts you to your knees and makes you wonder what goes through these people’s heads. It’s really sad.”
The cleanup on Saturday — held in commemoration of World Oceans Day — was organized by the Cape Breton Environmental Association and Bayitforward, with assistance from the Row Street Club and community.
Yates said the cleanup represented a lot of hard work.
“Cleaning up all the old lobster traps, tires and plastic on the beach was hard. We had to dig a lot of it up — a lot of lobster traps were buried in the sand,” he said.
“Then bags are just dumped, ripped open with loose garbage blowing around by someone with no respect for the area or ocean.”
David MacKeigan, vice-president of Bayitforward, said the response for the cleanup was amazing with more than 50 people cleaning up the beach and shore.
Following the cleanup a resident saw a vehicle heading to the beach. They went down and discovered the garbage.
MacKeigan said it was disheartening because so many people were engaged in the cleanup efforts.
“We had a barbecue at the Row Street afterwards. We were all so proud of what we accomplished as the beach looked so good.”
Information that could help identify the culprit has been handed to police, he added.
“Our group always reports the number to call so people are becoming more aware on how to report it. More awareness to the issue is being spread by multiple groups and individuals in the community.”
Kerry Caines took part in the cleanup along with his grandchildren. Caines, formerly of Newfoundland but previously stationed in New Brunswick with the military, said they moved to Bridgeport two years ago.
“My wife Colleen used to always swim down there when she was a kid so we go down there all the time,” he said.
“It’s usually a mess there so we decided that we’d help clean it up.”
Seeing an illegal dump right after the cleanup was disgusting, he added.
“You go and do all that work and someone who doesn’t care goes down and throws all this garbage all over the place.”
Const. Dan Lewis of the Cape Breton Regional Police Service confirmed he received a complaint of the illegal dumping at Bridgeport beach and an investigation is underway.
Lewis has been working on the issue of illegal dumping with the CBRM’s solid waste department since January.
Lewis said he received three other illegal dumping reports this week on Woodbine Road, Kings Road and in Donkin. The magnitude is never known until he gets out to each site, he said.
The fact people are calling and reporting illegal dumping is good, he added.
“I think they are calling because there is work being done on this stuff and they are seeing their call is being taken seriously.”
Dist. 10 Coun. Darren Bruckschwaiger praised the groups that organized the cleanup and the community for getting involved. With a regular garbage pickup weekly and blue bags every two weeks, it’s amazing that people will still do this, he said.
“Someone actually thought it was OK to dump all their garbage on a shoreline,” he said.
“We’re hoping charges will be laid.”
Bruckschwaiger said when a group of people is willing to do a cleanup the CBRM is appreciative of that and co-ordinates with solid waste to get it picked up. There was a miscommunication about Saturday’s cleanup so it wouldn’t have been picked up until Tuesday.
However, Bruckschwaiger got calls of seagulls into the garbage so they got a contractor out to clean it up Sunday.
Anyone who sees illegal dumping activity or finds and illegal dump is asked to phone the hotline 902-567-1337.