Island Nature Trust begins clean up of 'extensive' dump site in eastern P.E.I.

·2 min read

Island Nature Trust staff knew there was garbage in the Culloden forested natural area, but when they started to clean it up about a week ago, they were surprised with what they found.

The site in eastern P.E.I. has a large pit in it that was once used as an illegal dump. Island Nature Trust took ownership of the land in 2003. Normally, the pit is covered in water, but this year it wasn't, providing staff the perfect opportunity to start cleaning it up.

"We knew that there would be quite a bit of garbage based on what we could see at the surface," said Amy Frost-Wicks, land stewardship program co-ordinator with Island Nature Trust.

But once staff and volunteers started to clean it up, they realized there was a lot more garbage than expected.

"We were pulling out bags that were kind of buried under a foot or a foot and a half of soil," said Frost-Wicks.

Island Nature Trust/Facebook
Island Nature Trust/Facebook

"None of us realized how extensive it actually was."

By the time the team's first effort at cleaning up the site was done, about 635 kilograms of garbage was removed, said Frost-Wicks.

If staff continue to find garbage on the site, professional remediation might be needed.

"That would involve a lot more work. That could even involve having heavy machinery come in and just completely dig out the whole site," said Frost-Wicks.

Island Nature Trust staff estimate the dump site is at least a couple of decades old.

"We were also finding some really old gas cans and old chewing tobacco containers and old gum containers, like the metal tins. So it could have been as old as the 60s," she said.

Frost-Wicks said the garbage poses numerous problems.

Submitted by Amy Frost-Wicks
Submitted by Amy Frost-Wicks

"The plastics, as it ages in the sun, it can become brittle and it breaks apart. And then you get all these smaller pieces of plastic, which are even harder to clean up. Also, wildlife can mistake that plastic for food," she said.

Finding sites of this scale on P.E.I. is uncommon, said Frost-Wicks.

"At least on natural areas that Island Nature Trust owns, thankfully, we don't find them too often. I mean, there are inevitably some sites that you find that have kind of older piles of garbage, like at the back of fields and stuff like that, or you'll find an old car in the woods every once in a while," she said.

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