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Coronavirus: Growing concern over increase in curbside garbage, Okanagan landfill activity

Coronavirus: Growing concern over increase in curbside garbage, Okanagan landfill activity
Regional district officials are concerned over the influx of garbage and traffic at local landfills, and the potential impacts it could have.

The Campbell Mountain landfill near Penticton is a hive of activity.

A national stay-at-home order to curtail the spread of COVID-19 HAS prompted some to utilize their spare time to catch up on household cleaning.

But regional district officials are concerned too many people are making the trek to the landfill, potentially jeopardizing social distancing guidelines and putting staff at-risk.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Kingston, Ont. temporarily allows residents to put out more garbage

WildSafe BC coordinator Zoe Kirk says it’s not just the influx of waste at the dump that has them worried.

With people now bulk buying, along with an increase in single-use containers at food outlets, the end result means more curbside garbage.

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“Our concern is that people are going to have an extraordinary amount of more garbage going out to the curb,” said Kirk, “and they may be following some unsafe practices.”

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City of Vancouver changes garbage rules during COVID-19 crisis
City of Vancouver changes garbage rules during COVID-19 crisis

And that could put wildlife, like hungry bears, at risk of becoming food conditioned and habituated as they wake up from their sleepy slumber.

Kirk is encouraging people to secure their garbage, wash empty containers, spray down bins and only put it out on the morning of pickup.

“If we allow it to become a smorgasbord for bears,” said Kirk, “we can expect that we are now imprinting on a whole generation of cubs.”