Picking Up After Litterbugs: The 2018 Clean Toronto Together Campaign

One of the many things I love about Tokyo is that there is no litter. I’m talking zero, not even a stray piece of paper. Their streets are immaculate and what’s even more insane is that they don’t even have garbage bins located on sidewalks; everyone holds onto their garbage until they can dispose of it properly. Not littering is so ingrained in their culture that even when they lose at the World Cup, they STILL pick up after themselves.

Not so much in Toronto. There’s a highschool at the end of my street and I’m convinced teenagers are even lazier than adults when it comes to their trash. A day doesn’t go by where I am not picking up a squashed pop can or warped water bottle from the ground, while muttering under my breath like a crazed senior citizen about kids these days. (I’ve found food wrappers nestled in my hedges on more than one occasion. GET OFF MY LAWN!) And people who discard their cigarette butts with a dismissive, DGAF flick? UGH. They’re actually the second most prevalent small litter item in the city, with gum being #1.

The city is clearly aware of this, which is why Clean Toronto Together exists. Now in its 15th year, it’s a four week spring cleanup program that kicks off with the City staff vacuuming, sweeping and power washing their way through streets, parks and watercourses. On Friday, April 20th, schools and businesses are participating in a 20-Minute Makeover and on Saturday April 21st and Sunday April 22nd, residents can take part in Community Cleanup Days, which focus on parks, ravines, laneways and beaches. Glad Canada is in on the action, providing garbage bags at Pizza Pizza. And if you’re not picking up a slice, you can get a bag at community centers. Of course, you don’t need to wait for a designated day to be more like the Japanese. But it’s a start.

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