New app outs illegal dumpers

BC Wildlife Federation along with UBCO and partner groups have an app to geolocate illegal forest dumpsites and the people who do it.

Andre Bohemier of ABC Recycling (left)

Andre Bohemier of ABC Recycling (left)

Much like the bears do in the forest, some people can’t help but leave their ‘stuff’ behind when they head in to the bush.

For people however it’s fridges, cars and bags of trash. Just about anything humans accumulate can end up in the forest. A small portion of Okanagan residents are avoiding a minimal dumping fee to head into the back country and dump their trash, spending as much time and possibly more money in gas and vehicle wear and tear to haul it up those backcountry roads.

“We have a small portion of the population that’s treating B.C.’s backcountry like a dump,” said BC Wildlife Federation’s Jesse Zeman.

“Poaching, polluting, illegal dumping, a whole bunch of issues.”

For the past year an app has been in development to curb that behaviour, and on Monday the BCWF Conservation app was launched at a recent illegal dump site off Postill Lake Road in Lake Country.

That recent mess was cleaned up by the Okanagan Forest Task Force, a group of people who spend their own time and resources to clean up the forests.

Early in November, 50 of them collected 10.5 tons of scrap metal with the help of Regional District of the Central Okanagan waste management, Winn Rentals, EnviroMetal towing, ABC Recycling and others.

Disincentives to litter are already in place. Josh Lockwood, a sergeant with the Conservation Office Services in Kelowna, said penalties go from a $280 littering ticket to commercial fines of $550 and more.

“There was just a case where they got a $20,000 fine on somebody who illegally dumped commercial waste and then burned it.”

This was an example of people reporting what they were seeing. “Somebody saw them doing it.”

Using the BCWF Conservation app people can pinpoint with GPS exactly where dumping occurs. While they warn confronting people while they are dumping trash is clearly not the thing to do, licence plates and other identifying features can be uploaded to the app.

After editing these will go up on the site and the people who are doing the dumping will soon know their activity has gone public.

The app was developed at UBCO, where Jon Corbett and Nick Blackwell said it took a year to get it just right.

“We’ve got 100,000 plus hunters, 400,000 anglers, we have campers, we have loggers, we have hydrologists — all kinds of professionals are out in the bush,” Zeman said. “We are able to increase the number of eyes and ears by an order of magnitude for the Conservation Office Service, natural resource officers, Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

“We have all these citizen scientists out here, let’s put ’em to work.”

Click here to download the free app.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Columbia Shuswap Regional District will be studying housing needs in Electoral Areas B,D and F. (File photo)
Study to focus on housing needs, challenges in North Shuswap, other electoral areas

Columbia Shuswap Regional District to focus on Electoral Areas B, D and F

Taking part in the Business Recovery and Expansion Program offered by the Tsuts’weye Women’s Entrepreneur and Innovation Network has been a re-energizing experience for Wildwood Flower Emporium owner Ellen Gonella of Salmon Arm. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)
Making connections: Salmon Arm business owner re-energized by free local program

Applications being accepted for Business Recovery and Expansion Program

The Okanagan’s first virtual wedding fair will be held Saturday, March 27. {Paul Rodgers photo)
Okanagan to host virtual wedding fair

Okanagan wine country is No. 1 destination for weddings - online event set for March 27

Vernon Search and Rescue, with help from the Air Rescue One helicopter out of Wildcat Helicopters in Kelowna, and Central Okanagan Search and Rescue, were able to transport an injured snowmobiler to Vernon Regional Airport, where he was loaded into an ambulance and taken to Vernon Jubilee Hospital with a serious, painful back injury. (Facebook photo)
Okanagan helicopter rescue teams called to retrieve injured sledder at Greystokes

Vernon and Central Okanagan Search and Rescue help load injured man into waiting helicopter

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19 vaccination set to start for B.C. seniors aged 80-plus

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

Lumby’s WTF What the Fry was broken into Friday, Feb. 26, 2021, and the till was stolen around 9:30 a.m. (Facebook)
Cash box stolen from Lumby poutinerie

WTF broken into in broad daylight seven weeks after grand opening

KISU swim club member Justin Fotherby is one of six swimmers from across Canada to be recognized for the 2020-2021 Victor Davis Award. (Submitted photo)
Penticton swimmer wins major awards, closing in on Olympic dream

Justin Fotherby, a KISU club member, has just won the prestigious Victor Davis Award

Det. Sgt. Jim Callender. (Hamilton Police Service screenshot)
B.C. man dead, woman seriously injured after shooting in Hamilton, Ont.

The man was in the process of moving to the greater Toronto area, police say

Oliver Fire Department. (Submitted photo)
Burn pile fire spreads to nearby garage in Oliver

The fire could be seen from Highway 97 and was called in at 3:45 a.m.

(Black Press file photo)
Child in critical condition, homicide investigators probe incident near Agassiz

The child was transported to hospital but is not expected to survive

Last year, more than 80 parents braved sub-zero temperatures to stand in line at Vernon’s Beairsto Elementary to ensure a Kindergarten spot for their children come September. Now, this first-come, first-served system is about to change. (Morning Star file photo)
COVID exposure at Vernon elementary school

Interior Health reporting exposure Feb. 19 and 22 at Beairsto

Sewage plant in Lower Mainland, operated by Metro Vancouver. (Metro Vancouver screenshot)
‘Poop tracker’ launches as researchers test Lower Mainland sewage water for COVID-19

‘Studying the virus in wastewater allows researchers to look at an entire population…’

Most Read