We're super proud to announce that on March 19th, over 450 community members came together from across the Lower Fraser Valley to tackle cleanups along a 10 km stretch of the Fraser River. Together, we removed more than 20 tonnes of illegally dumped garbage from community green-spaces and sensitive wilderness areas in the process.
This was far and away our most successful cleanup to date, nearly doubling last year's haul and marking more than 80 tons of garbage removed from the Fraser River and its surrounding backcountry!
Illegal dumping has been an epidemic problem in the Fraser Valley, threatening the recreational areas and wildlife habitat that we all love to enjoy. Through the Fraser Valley Illegal Dumping Alliance (FVIDA), we are working year-round to improve this issue. Our work includes education through river cleanup events, reporting incentives, improved signage and general community awareness, all in the effort to help curb the trend of people dumping garbage next to our rivers.
“It’s general knowledge within our community that this type of activity is illegal, and extremely detrimental to our local environment, fish, and wildlife. We all recreate in these areas, and everyone frowns upon this kind of behavior" said event co-organizer Kevin Raffle of Woodtone.
"Through community events such as this, combined with continued educational outreach, we are keeping our message at the forefront of community topics. More people are talking about illegal dumping, and more people are watching the activities that go on in our local watershed and back country. At the end of the day, it is these types of areas that make up the beauty of Chilliwack and the Fraser Valley. Regardless if we are camping, fishing, hiking or quading. We all have a part to play and need to leave these areas in their natural state,looking like they have never been visited in the first place.”
Included among the items volunteers cleaned up were mattresses, vehicle parts, spent ammunition, construction waste, a plethora of household garbage and hundreds of nails leftover from pallet fires.
We're absolutely floored by the impact of this year's cleanup and the tremendous support we've received from the community. We started these cleanups back in 2007 with just a small group of about a dozen volunteers. Since then, we've grown to become some of the largest river cleanups in the Fraser Valley.
To those who devoted their Saturday to cleaning up the wild places they love, giving back to their community and protecting their local waterways in the process, we say a big THANK YOU... from the bottom of our hearts.