Kamloops conservation officers have noticed an uptick in the number of illegal dumping complaints they have received this year.
“Any side road out there, we’re seeing bags of garbage, couches, TVs — all sorts of stuff — just being tossed in the bush,” conservation officer Graydon Bruce said.
Bruce did not have specific numbers, but said approximately 80 per cent of calls the service has received since the snow melted this past spring have been for people dumping waste in the bush. Bruce said such calls typically don’t comprise that high of a percentage.
He said the Lac Du Bois area, Inks Lake Road, Goose Lake and back roads in Barnhartvale have been popular sites for illegal dumping. Commonly dumped items include black garbage bags of household garbage, clothes and yard waste, couches and electronics.
Bruce said anyone found responsible for illegal dumping can face a fine up to $575 per day that garbage remains present.
Asked if the COVID-19 pandemic could be playing a role in the spike, given people are spending more time at home with time on their hands, Bruce said it’s possible, but unclear.
“It’s way up from what it’s been and I’m not sure if that’s related to COVID-19 or not, but it’s up from what it’s been,” he said.
Bruce said when people dump garbage in one spot, it can give others the impression it is permissible to follow suit, creating a dumping ground.
“I think there’s a lot of people who love this city and the wild places we’re able to access, and when people throw garbage in those spots, it’s a real big black mark on our city,” Bruce said.
He also noted people shouldn’t assume dumping their yard waste into forested areas is harmless because it can lead to the transfer of invasive weeds.
Bruce asks that those witnessing illegal dumping document it and alert the Conservation Officer Service as soon as possible. He advised those needing to dispose of garbage use the city’s dump facilities, noting the fees are affordable.
The City of Kamloops dumping fee at the Mission Flats landfill for loads under 60 kilograms is $5. The fee to dump furniture is $10, while appliances containing freon cost $15 per item.
Electronics can also be disposed of at Return-It depots and there are a number of organizations in Kamloops that will accept donated clothing and other items.