Editorial: Garbage Mumpsimus

The word mumpsimus is defined as being a person who persists in repeating a mistake. That mistake can be misspoken words, hurtful beliefs, or harmful practices. A mumpsimus is someone who does this out of habit, or is just plain obstinate.

The problem with being a mumpsimus is there is a cost.

South Dundas is now just beginning to realize what the true cost will be for being a mumpsimus regarding garbage. Municipal council heard last week the sad state of affairs regarding our landfill issues. It’s bad.

Citizens of South Dundas are on the hook for paying $1.5 million to close one big pile of trash, and we’re most likely going to double the size of the other big pile of trash so we can keep throwing things out. That will cost over $500K. Two million is a lot of money for one municipality. Consider however that South Dundas generates over 8,000 cubic metres of trash per year. For one municipality of about 10,750 people, that is a lot of garbage.

We didn’t need to be in these dire straits though. There were warning signs observed and options presented but they were ignored.

Current elected officials were not very willing to throw their predecessors under the proverbial bus, but we will.

For two decades South Dundas has not dealt with the garbage issue head-on. During the last term of council, that group was presented with the best opportunity to move in some direction. Instead of listening to staff recommendations, the previous council buried its head in the trash and hoped everything would go away. The only thing that went away was nearly two years of time to put a solution in place. Now there is less than two years to find and implement a long term solution.

To solve this garbage issue, we need a new place to dump our trash and expanding the Matilda landfill is the best scenario from a cost-perspective. But we also need to do more, a lot more. That starts with not throwing out as much. Everyone in South Dundas has to buy in to better waste diversion, composting, recycling, and any other program to keep as much garbage out of the landfill as possible.

And we will all have to pay the real cost of our trash. Whether it is paying for each bag put out to the curb, or a levy on our taxes, we have to pay and it is better to start as soon as possible.
We simply cannot follow the mumpsimus model of dealing with our garbage any further.

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