Friday, July 10, 2009

Garbage in the Don

I've been active in the Don Valley for several years removing garbage from natural areas. Now it appears that the city is putting it right back. The Don is now the dubious host for a number of temporary city dumps, courtesy of the ongoing civic workers strike. The first one was setup next to Taylor-Massey Creek in the parking lot at the foot of Stan Wadlow Park.

The dump

The garbage pile

I have also heard that another site is opening soon in Wilket Creek Park near Leslie and Eglinton. In addition to the legal sites there are now a few examples of illegal dumping. If the civic workers strike lasts much longer I am sure we will see more of these.

Illegal dump near Pottery Road

Another dump next to Pottery Road

This looks more like homeless garbage but is still an illegal dump. Found next to Lower Don Trail just north of Bloor Street Bridge.


native plant girl said...

Hi John,

Also, Toronto Environmental Alliance is concerned about the impacts of the insecticide applied on the dump sites:

From TEA's July 2009 Council Watch newsletter:

TEA calls on residents and the City to take precautions at temporary dump sites …TEA has become aware that the City of Toronto is applying the pesticide permethrin to its temporary dumps as often as every 24 hours to combat pests attracted by the garbage. …Residents and the City need to take precautions to reduce negative impacts stemming from the applications of permethrin and the creation of temporary dumps on sites that were never designed to house garbage. …Although Permethrin is much less toxic then other traditional insecticides, it is linked with some health and environmental hazards. As with most chemical sprays, direct contact can cause immediate health effects such as skin rashes and headaches. It is also highly toxic to beneficial insects (i.e. honeybees) and fish. One long-term human health concern linked to low-level exposure comes with permethrin's potential to act as an endocrine disruptor, meaning it may interfere with our body's ability to communicate through its hormones, glands and cellular receptors. Possible effects, depending on time of exposure, could be increased risk of reproductive problems, effects to children's development and thyroid disorders. Permethrin is a 'suspected' endocrine disruptor, and health effects from endocrine disruption are still being researched…”



myself, although i have no idea how to measure it, i can't help but wonder how much habitat and biodiversity loss results from even one summer's absence of the City's invasive / bioinvasion control in any of our public green spaces and natural areas.


Glad your walks were so well attended and, as always, thank you for your excellent blog.

native plant girl said...

...a couple of hours of pesticide reading later and Permethrin is NOT making any sense near aquatic natural areas.

insecticides are not my area expertise but I'm familiar w/ looking into herbicide profiles, and it turns out the same sources apply.

For example, here are some excerpts from the Pesticide Information Profile for permethrin by the not-pesticide-shy researchers over at EXTOXNET / the Extension Toxicology Network (major US agr. university research departments and mostly USDA funded).

"Ecological Effects: Effects on aquatic organisms: Aquatic ecosystems are particularly vulnerable to the impact of permethrin. ...As a group, synthetic pyrethroids were toxic to all estuarine species tested. ...Effects on other organisms: Permethrin is extremely toxic to bees. Severe losses may be expected if bees are present at treatment time, or within a day thereafter [2,43]. Permethrin is also toxic to wildlife [9]. It should not be applied, or allowed to drift, to crops or weeds in which active foraging takes place [12]."

And it looks like folks w/ site specific knowledge should share their concerns with TEA ASAP because they're already gathering this case.