Volunteers help clean up garbage and illegal dumping in Whalley Saturday morning (March 7, 2020). (Photo: Lauren Collins)

‘The war against garbage’: Volunteers help with Surrey’s illegal dumping problem

Trash Talk Movement brought together a group of dozen people to clean an area in Whalley

It’s now a movement.

What started as a few posts on social media by Rob Rice and Greg Snurnitsyn has now turned into Trash Talk Movement, and the two helped to organize a community clean up on Saturday morning (March 7).

About a dozen people, including Rice and Snurnitsyn, met at one of the Scott Road SkyTrain station parking lots and split into two groups to walk down Scott Road.

“We’re going to have fun picking up garbage, making a difference where other people just don’t do it,” said Rice. “Now we’re going on the war against garbage in the city.”

Snurnitsyn, who also operates Bins2Go, said there was a “huge” response on social media after the Now-Leader first wrote about their plans back in February.

“This is one of the biggest gatherings. Usually, we did it side by side with friends only, but today we have complete strangers, volunteers who are very concerned about the city’s illegal dumping problem,” Snurnitsyn said.

READ ALSO: ‘A bag full of garbage every 15 metres’: Surrey industrial area filled with trash, Feb. 21, 2020

The Now-Leader caught up with them as the group was starting out on their morning of cleaning.

“I don’t know how far we’re going to make it,” said Rice. “But the idea is we’re going to do this area, clean it up in front of all these businesses and all the traffic gets to see it and then when we approach these companies again for sponsorship or helping donations, then they’ll say, ‘Oh, this looks great.’ This is how we’re going to steamroll this into the next level.”

Speaking to the group of people, Rice said the plan was to use the City of Surrey’s “Rethink Waste” app to report the garbage picked up, “so we can test their system to make sure that it works.”

He said he had spoken to the city about the plan and staff knew that’s what the group would be doing.

The “Rethink Waste” app, according to Rice, is “hard to use.”

Rice said the city has been responsive so far with Trash Talk’s concerns.

He said they’ve spoken with Councillor Steven Pettigrew, who asked for a mission statement which he then passed on to the city’s solid waste manager.

“The city, actually, went over there and cleaned it up. They had twelve-plus city employees over there, a bunch of trucks, heavy equipment, picking up the trash. They did about 85 per cent of it over there,” said Rice, adding that there was some drywall and small litter left over. “It is a huge effort. They got a lot of the garbage out of there.”

However, a few days later, Rice said, he and Snurnitsyn noticed that people have started dumping again.

The area is around Brownsville, under the south end of the Pattullo Bridge.

Rice and Snurnitsyn brought attention to the illegal dumping in the area through a video on YouTube on Feb. 19.

The two showed major illegal dumping sites along Bridge Road, which runs parallel to the South Fraser Perimeter Road, Musqueam Drive and 116th Avenue.

“It’s secluded. From here, you can’t see anything from the highway,” Rice said during a tour of the illegal dumping in the area.

To get in touch with Trash Talk, email trashtalkmovement@gmail.com. They can also be found at facebook.com/TrashTalkMovement.

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