Officials in North Dakota are racing to prevent an “environmental tragedy” created by the massive amounts of garbage left behind by anti-pipeline protesters at camp near the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s reservation.
It’s been over a week since state and tribal sanitation crews began removing mountains of waste and debris left over from the month’s long protest over the Dakota Access Pipeline.
“It is paramount for public safety, and to prevent an environmental disaster, that the camps be cleared prior to a potential spring flood,” Gov. Doug Burgum said in a recent statement. “Once the floodwaters recede, the land will need to be cleaned and eventually restored to pre-protest conditions.”
On Monday, a local NBC affiliate reported that it will take an estimated 250 truckloads of trash to clear the camp which sits on a floodplain at the confluence of the Cannonball and Missouri rivers. But it’s not just floodwaters that officials are worried about, they also fear warming springtime temperatures turn the currently frozen chunks of garbage into toxic waste.
— NDResponse (@NDResponse) February 6, 2017
Twenty-three loads equating to over 480,000 pounds of trash have been dumped in the Bismarck Landfill since cleanup started.