East Van Garbage Watch: Illegal dumping in Vancouver, by the numbers

    1 of 5 2 of 5

      East Vancouver smells like shit.

      Between West Coast Reduction's rendering plant on North Commercial, the vomit and urine streaking the sidewalks and alleyways after special events, and the epic piles of garbage, it's hard to argue that the east side of town smells like anything other than rancid death.

      To wit, I present East Van Garbage Watch (patent pending): a semi-regular series of photos of disgustingness.

      For today's entry, we look at data from the city of Vancouver to answer the question: how bad is the city's illegal dumping problem?

      To me, a casual observer, "pretty fucking bad" seems like the correct answer—it's part of why I created East Van Garbage Watch in the first place.

      I will admit this abandoned mattress looks pretty comfy during golden hour.
      Miranda Nelson

      But do my vague impressions accurately represent the severity of the city's trash tribulations? 

      Thanks to the City of Vancouver's open-data catalogue, citizens can find information on everything from the location of city-owned properties to the different kinds of trees on city streets. 

      For today's EVGW analysis, I looked at the city's 3-1-1 data from January to May 2015, specifically tracking the service's "Illegal Dumping/Abandoned Garbage Pickup" complaints.

      Here is the resulting map based on complaints about dumping to 3-1-1.

      Downtown Vancouver had the most individual reports of abandoned garbage (21), followed by Kensington-Cedar Cottage (20) and Kitsilano (18).

      However, fully 60 percent of the reports (124) were from neighbourhoods in Vancouver's eastern half.

      Total number of reports207
      Downtown 21
      Kensington-Cedar Cottage 20
      Kitsilano 18
      Mount Pleasant 15
      Strathcona 15
      Renfrew-Collingwood 14
      Grandview-Woodland 12
      Sunset 12
      Riley Park 11
      Hastings-Sunrise 10
      Victoria-Fraserview 9
      Marpole 7
      South Cambie 7
      West End 7
      Dunbar Southlands 5
      Fairview 5
      Oakridge 5
      Shaughnessy 4
      Kerrisdale 3
      Killarney 3
      West Point Grey 3
      Arbutus Ridge 1


      Shaughnessy, Vancouver's richest neighbourhood, has only reported four instances of abandoned garbage since the beginning of 2015.

      Looking at the map, it's easy to find a few areas that seem to have less of a problem with illegal dumping than others. 

      Vancouver's Arbutus Ridge, Shaughnessy, and Kerrisdale neighbourhoods are virtually free from reports of abandoned garbage.
      This small chunk of land straddling the Grandview-Woodlands and Hastings-Sunrise neighbourhood sees less garbage than the surrounding areas.

      Want to live a life completely devoid of illegal trash fairies? Try Killarney. Either there's no dumping happening in the neighbourhood or no one cares enough to report it to the city.

      Vancouver's Killarney neighbourhood has had only three reports of illegal dumping so far this year.

      One last curiosity: it seems the Kitsilano Free Corner is officially dead; there's been not a single report of abandoned garbage at the corner of West 4th Avenue and MacDonald Street at all this year.

      So, is Vancouver's illegal dumping problem better or worst than I assumed? I honestly don't know.

      What I can say for sure is that Vancouver's 3-1-1 program works; the week after posting about this nightmare of an alley in my neighbourhood, the massive trash pile disappeared—and it's been clean ever since.

      See a problem? Give 3-1-1 a jangle. Heck, there's even an app for it!

      Previously on East Van Garbage Watch: Just your average filthy bus stop.

      Have a Vancouver garbage photo you want to share? East Van Garbage Watch welcomes trash photos from anywhere in the City of Vancouver. Send photos via Twitter to @charenton_ or email webeditor@straight.com with the photo's location, date it was taken, and any other observations you may have.




      Jun 16, 2015 at 9:47am

      I admire that you get paid to do this!

      Barry William Teske

      Jun 17, 2015 at 9:54am

      Has to be the lamest and stupidest piece of class warrior reading I have ever come across.
      Gee Miranda...you do know it all goes to the same landfill or usually the same ocean right?
      Just because affluent ol Shaugnessy residents can afford to have somebody else haul away their garbage in no way means they are any less culpable. But thats not the point of your little distraction. Sorry should have saw it. Shameful writing by you casting blame with your privilege.
      Don't break that nose as you hoist it into the air even higher than it already is.