KAMLOOPS–First Nations Chiefs met this week to discuss the dumping of biolsolid waste in the Nicola Valley.
The chiefs say the waste is being dumped on traditional territories.
They agreed unanimously to work together as Nations; with the ultimate goal of stopping biosolid dumping within traditional territories altogether.
“We believe the practice of using biosolids in agricultural lands and on our life sustaining ecosystems can be completely eradicated if we work together. This is not just an issue for First Nations people. This is an issue for everyone as we all need the land to be healthy if we are to be healthy. You get what you give. Moving forward, we need to be utilizing the most cutting edge technologies to offset the toxic waste from being transported directly onto the land and into our water systems. We need to rely on traditional Indigenous knowledge as it’s the best way we can protect the environment,” says Kukpi7 Wayne Christian, Tribal Chief of the Shuswap Nation Tribal Council.
“We view this land application of biosolids as nothing more than a method of cheap toxin dispersal for big cities. They attain a cleaner environment while the people living in these areas are expected to take the poisonous burden on their shoulders. This practice is impacting the soil, water and air we all rely on for our lives. First Nations peoples are particularly vulnerable to this accumulating low-level toxic build up, as this sewer sludge is sprayed into the forests and on the meadows, jeopardizing the traditional practices of gathering foods and medicines, as well as potentially threatening the safety of hunting and fishing,” says Chief Aaron Sam of the Lower Nicola Indian Band.
“Biosolids” is sewage sludge by-product produced during the treatment of waste.
Residents of the Nicola Valley, including First Nations, have been protesting the dumping of biosolids in the Nicola Valley for the past year.
Concerns were also raised in February, when a truck carrying biosolids from West Kelowna spilled some of it’s material en-route.
The two First Nations chiefs say the product represents everything cities pour down the drains; from fecal matter to pharmaceuticals and chemical solvents and cleaners.
They say some pathogens are removed, but many toxins remain.