The Ministry of Environment is reminding Saskatchewan residents not to dump things into the ditch.

Miranda Carlberg, Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Branch said garbage, old appliances, animal carcasses, tires, or anything else dumped anywhere but in a landfill or at a recycling depot can result in some heavy fines under the Municipal Refuse Management Regulations.

"Fines for littering start at $580 for an individual and $1,400 for a corporation. And if it's a more severe case, a court appearance might be necessary, actually, and then the person who did the dumping, the litterer, would be responsible for the expenses and for cleaning up the site as well."

Carlberg said while most of the province's incidents of illegal dumping tend to occur in northern Saskatchewan, anywhere that isn't a proper disposal site can cause risks to the environment.

"Old appliances and things like that start leaking harmful components and when metal degrades, it leeches chemicals into the environment, so if wildlife are around there, it could harm them, and it's also bad if it's next to a water source, because then that stuff gets in the water."

Leaving out attractants is also against the law, such as food waste, for bears, wolves, cougars, and coyotes. Failure to manage attractants can result in fines under The Wildlife Regulations, 1981. 

"Please don't dump your garbage in the ditch, but find an appropriate location," she urged. "Maybe it's harder to get to a registered landfill. Maybe they don't have as much access. Maybe they're deterred by the fees that you have to pay. I think it's a mixture of everything."

She said the waste hierarchy is a good starting point: reduce, reuse, recycle.

"Buying quality products that might last a bit longer that you have on hand is better than poorer ones and then throwing the items out," she noted. "Or, even if you can recycle your items instead of throwing them in the garbage can, or  throwing them in the ditch, donating and selling and reusing items are all actions you could do to reduce your your waste footprint."

Carlberg said there are programs in communities throughout Saskatchewan for recycling things that that industry looks after, such as used tires, oil, paints, and electronics. 

"So lots of times in cities, businesses will collect and recycle the products like vehicle batteries and even smaller batteries, old cell phone batteries and things like that. So I think we're getting more and more options to recycle all the time. I believe the municipalities most of the time. I know here in Regina we recently got a depot where it's open two days a week and you can take your household hazardous waste. But it's not supposed to go in your blue bins."

If you see someone dumping in a ditch or anywhere that is not appropriate, the Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment's TIPP line, 1-800-667-7561, is the number to call to turn in poachers and polluters. 

"That would put you in contact with the local Conservation Officer so that they can come out and investigate," Carlberg said, adding it would be helpful to get as much information as you can by noting down details about the person who's doing it and the vehicle and license plate. "If you can get it, that would all be very valuable to the Conservation Officers when they're following up."

Additionally, it is also dangerous to burn your waste, which is illegal in Weyburn. Burning plastic releases chemicals into the air we all breathe, causing long-term health problems. 

Find more information about illegal dumping HERE.