Forest clean-up group tackles massive illegal dumpsite near Okanagan Falls

Click to play video: 'Backcountry clean-up in Okanagan Falls'
Backcountry clean-up in Okanagan Falls
The Okanagan Forest Task Force held a massive clean-up Saturday at a dump site in the South Okanagan. As Victoria Femia reports - the task force says dumping in the backcountry seems to be getting worse every year and it's harming both wildlife and people. – May 25, 2024

The Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen is lauding a grassroots effort to clean up illegal dumping in B.C.’s Southern Interior.

For the past eight years, the Okanagan Forest Task Force has been removing randomly dumped garbage, metal and whatnot from the valley’s backcountry.

This weekend, an effort is underway to clean up a dumpsite near Okanagan Falls.

Click to play video: 'Non-profit group finds another dumpsite in the Okanagan'
Non-profit group finds another dumpsite in the Okanagan

“Illegal dumping poses many health, safety, environmental, and economic threats,” said the regional district, “such as increased risk of wildfire, contamination of water and soil, decline in property values, and injury to people around dump sites.”

Story continues below advertisement

To help expedite cleanups, the RDOS says it waives garbage dump fees when illegal landfill waste is gathered and brought to a local landfill.

Breaking news from Canada and around the world sent to your email, as it happens.

According to the regional district, the dumpsite near Okanagan Falls “is an unusually large problem area consisting of RVs, household garbage, burnt vehicles, metal, and other material.”

“It’s impressive to see the work being done by volunteers to protect our natural environment,” said RDOS chair Mark Pendergraft.

“These cleanup events are important reminders to everyone to respect the backcountry and dispose of garbage and other materials at local landfills.”

Click to play video: 'Raw video of RCMP and Okanagan Forest Task Force at abandoned camp on Beaver Lake Road'
Raw video of RCMP and Okanagan Forest Task Force at abandoned camp on Beaver Lake Road

The Okanagan Forest Task Force estimates that Saturday’s cleanup will help the group eclipse a milestone: More than one million pounds of garbage and recyclable material removed from area forests since 2016.

Story continues below advertisement

Last June, near Kelowna, the group removed 13,470 pounds of metal and 7,452 pounds of garbage from an illegal dumpsite along Postill Lake Road.

“From lawnmowers, kitchen sink, stoves, cast-iron stoves — I mean, you name it. There was everything up there,” task force member Reto Gebert told Global News at the time.

The regional district says if community groups are interested in organizing a cleanup of illegal dumpsites, they should first get in touch with the RDOS solid waste department to ensure proper procedures are followed.

Also, if you witness illegal dumping or know of an illegal dumpsite, you’re encouraged to contact Report All Poachers and Polluters by calling 1-877-952-7277 or by going online.

Click to play video: 'Okanagan Forest Task Force now using trail cameras to help battle illegal dumping in backcountry'
Okanagan Forest Task Force now using trail cameras to help battle illegal dumping in backcountry

Sponsored content