Keeping Toronto clean is everyone’s responsibility

by | Apr 4, 2014 | Editorial

The Toronto Star has dubbed it the “awkward time of the year”–the transitional phase in grade school when you know that beneath the pizza face looking back at you in the mirror, there is beauty underneath. In Toronto, with spring finally upon us, the warmer temperatures have given the city a haggard look, as murky waters and trash engulf the streets following the snow’s departure.

This is the case in many parts of the city. It’s expected that the level of garbage found on the ground is likely at its highest level during this time of the year. This is the result of several months of careless littering from Torontonians, using the endless mounds of snow to cover up their garbage.

Taking a look around Rexdale however, the scenery is not so much haggard, but instead borderline obliterated. From cigarette buds to cellphones, from coffee cups to streetlamps, there’s no shortage of debris. Considering the already existing and plentiful amounts of candy wrappers and gum littering the streets, with the new garbage unearthed by the snow thaw, literal levels of garbage are being created.

Despite the 50 litter vacuums, 45 sweepers, 50 stake trucks, 20 front-end loaders, 11 collection trucks and 60 pickup trucks the Toronto Star reports the city has deployed to deal with the mess, there is still much more to be done by Torontonians to revitalize the community.

Imagine if every single person at Humber’s North campus picked up one piece of garbage every day during their commute to and from school? It may sound superficial, but this simple action would quickly beautify our immediate surroundings. Calling out those who continue to litter should also be part of the initiative–the carelessness people display in these situations is ultimately the root of the problem.

For an extreme example of this carelessness, look no further than the Garbage Guy. He lives behind the hydro corridor, south of the Military Trail in Scarborough and his inexplicable disregard for the environment has been an ongoing issue for months now. An unholy pile of garbage accumulating over the winter behind his townhouse was recently widely reported on, and until a short while ago, was entirely covered in snow

Obviously this highly volatile approach isn’t how most people in Rexdale deal with the disposal of garbage, but it’s close. Garbage is found all the way down Humber College Blvd. and Humberline Drive, often shoved into fences. It’s disheartening because even with active construction and the traffic flowing through Highway 27, the surrounding area has the potential to look elegant.

It simply comes down to effort. We shouldn’t expect the city to keep every inch of Toronto sparkling clean. If we want our community to look like something other than obliterated, we need to work for it. A very minimal amount of individual effort would be required. Pick up a piece of trash every day, or at the very least, don’t add to the existing pile on the ground. It’s really, very simple.