An environmental advocate in Cape Breton is sounding the alarm on the rising number of unwanted tires showing up on Maritime beaches.

A recent cleanup near Glace Bay found more than a dozen used tires lining the shoreline at Big Glace Bay Beach.

“To come to a nice beach like this and see a bunch of tires is really sad,” said Dylan Yates, the president of the Cape Breton Environmental Association. “People come to enjoy the beach and they got to see tires; it’s really disappointing.”

Yates says the number of tires showing up at illegal dumpsites is on the rise. At a recent cleanup they found more than twelve tires, including ones used for tractors and bicycles.

“Tires are made up of 60 per cent of synthetic rubber, which breaks down and the fish will eat it,” he said. “It makes its way up the food chain and on to your dinner plate.”

Police say illegal dumping is a major problem in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality. At one illegal dumpsite, you can find you can everything from household items to oil tanks.

Police say they are cracking down on the unwanted garbage. In May they charged two people with illegal dumping. 

“The amount of investigated files for the first three months of this year doubled from the first three months of last year,” said Const. Dan Lewis of the Cape Breton Regional Police.“So, it’s becoming a big problem within the municipality.”

Although there is no one reason why people dump their garbage, Yates thinks it comes down to laziness. Recycling tires is as simple as returning them to the dealer you bought them from.

“We do have programs to recycle tires,” he said. “You pay a fee when you purchase tires to recycle tires. Most tire retailers will take tires, at least four of them at a time.”

Yates is hoping to create more awareness about the programs offered so these unsightly chunks of rubber are no longer littering Maritime beaches.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Kyle Moore.