It's hard not to feel like an environmental activist whenever one comes across a scene that is worthy of treatment by Ed Burtynsky. A visit to any dump invariably stirs feelings of disgust, guilt, outrage and shame. Our garbage is a complex problem everywhere. But there is an especially diabolical edge to Iqaluit's dump. Perhaps it is because of the particular poignancy of this blight on what we assume to be last of the pristine landscapes. Or maybe it is because it seems there is no organizational plan or strategy to address the future here. Or maybe it is because in addition to the already dangerous mountains of trash, there is raw sewage being pumped in from somewhere. Maybe it is the many resident ravens. Perhaps it is because of the dump's invisibility--to both the South and the town itself. Maybe it's the remains of Caribou and other quarry that are so ubiquitous you are unsure what is beneath your feet. It could be the stench of garbage and death that permeates the air despite the cold. Or maybe it is because the site is used as the killing field for the town's stray dogs. It was surprising the rapidity with which the by-law enforcement officer dispatched the 2 purebred huskies she had in the back of her truck with a 12-gauge (there was no question that these dogs knew what was going on).
The dump does have a reputation as a scavenger's mecca. I ran into Keigan, Nick, J.J. and Anthony--four high school students who scored an almost new couch. And it does employ at least 3 local Inuit including Kyle who was happy to show me around. Cold comfort I fear.