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)

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.

 

Just Posted

Community Leader Awards: Sheila Gardiner-Watt

The Kelowna Capital News celebrates those in the community who go above and beyond

Mamas for Mamas founder survives with new lease on life

Kelowna’s Shannon Christensen escaped a dangerous situation and lived to tell about it

Announced this week in Kelowna

A listing of some of the events that were announced in the Kelowna area this week

Big White ski instructor named Top 10 in Canada

Big White’s Josh Foster has been selected for the Canadian Ski Instructors’ Alliance (CSIA) Interski team

Kelowna restaurant hosts popular New York Chef

Need something to do this Valentine’s Day?

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

VIDEO: Dramatic video shows return of rescued B.C. snowboarders

Two snowboarders were rescued near Rossland, B.C. on Sunday after being lost overnight.

Tom Brady leads Patriots back to Super Bowl, top Jaguars 24-20

New England to face winner of Sunday night’s game between Minnesota and Philadelphia on Feb. 4

Letter: Site C figures not correct

Kelowna letter-writer raises questions about the Site C dam project

Letter: Site C opponents are whining

If native treaty rights are being disrespected, just who is disrespecting them?

Albas: Canada Jobs program being politicized

Conservative MP Dan Albas’ weekly column takes on the student summer job plan

Fuhr: Pension for Life is a commitment to veterans

Kelowna-Lake Country MP Stephen Fuhr talks about his government’s commitment to veterans

Coquihalla drivers prepare for snow

Wintry conditions persist, with snow warnings for Coquihalla

Rockets take down Royals

Kole Lind has four points and Jack Cowell scores twice as Rockets rebound from 7-2 loss at Seattle

Most Read