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B.C. prof hopes students' ideas to retrofit clothing bins will prevent deaths

VANCOUVER — At least seven Canadians have died after getting stuck in clothing donation bins and the latest fatality has prompted an advocate to call for the “death traps” to be immediately fixed or removed.

A 34-year-old man was found lodged in a bin in West Vancouver on Sunday, the fifth person in the province to die the same way since 2015.

A 32-year-old man was found dead inside a donation box in Cambridge, Ont., in November, and a man in his 20s died in a similar container in Calgary in July 2017.

Prof. Ray Taheri of the school of engineering at the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus says the death of a B.C. woman in a bin last July prompted him to get his students working on ways to retrofit the bins.

He says removing up to 2,000 bins just in British Columbia would cost too much money so the best solution would be to change their design as quickly as possible using the ideas his students have come up with.

Jeremy Hunka of Union Gospel Mission in Vancouver says many homeless people depend on the bins for clothing and others may try to use them as shelter in cold weather but they’re so dangerous that charitable organizations should get rid of them and find other ways to collect donations.

 

The Canadian Press