Illegal dumping is a multi-million dollar problem in the Lower Mainland and there is growing concern as asbestos dumping becomes more common.

Chris Gadsden of the Fraser Valley Illegal Dumping Alliance recently snapped a photo of an illegal dump site at the side of a rural Chilliwack road.

“It looked suspicious,” Gadsden told CTV News.

Gadsden found about a dozen bags of trash in the Chilliwack River Valley. Some of the bags contained asbestos and had been ripped open.

Chilliwack conservation officer Don Stahl said illegal dumping of bags containing asbestos can have severe consequences.

“It is concerning because it is a hazardous waste. It can cause cancer when it becomes airborne, gets into your lungs,” he said.

In the last six months Stahl said there has been a “marked increase” in asbestos dumping with four known incidents recently.

Gadsden said it costs tens of thousands of dollars to remove the last three or four illegal dumps that have been found, and taxpayers are footing the bill. He said part of the problem is that the Chilliwack landfill won’t accept hazardous waste and the city is working to change this rule.

Conservation officers are trying to find who is responsible for the dumping.

“It may be a fly by night contractor. It may be actually a licensed person handling it and they're just taking it out there instead of taking it to the dump, saving a few hundred dollars rather than transporting it to the proper landfill,” Stahl said.

Anyone who sees a vehicle carrying a load of garbage into a remote area is asked to report it and even take a photo if it’s safe.

With a report from CTV Vancouver’s Michele Brunoro