Mississagua takes on litterbugs

City of Mississauga (http://www.mississauga.ca/) workers got cleaning on April 20.
About 200 employees stopped working at 2 p.m. to participate in a 20-minute cleanup of the area around city hall.

Sandra Desrochers works for the city’s anti-littering organization, Litterbug. (http://www.mississauga.ca/portal/residents/litterbug) Litterbug allows community organizations and businesses to adopt areas in the city that need to be cleaned.

Despite spring cleanup programs around the city, Desrochers said litter is at its worst this time of year.

“After spring, the problem subsides somewhat, as people usually won’t litter a clean area. But they tend to add to areas that are already spoiled with litter,” she said.

The cleanup started as part of Mayor David Miller’s 20-minute Toronto makeover, but spread to communities across the greater Toronto area and helped to kick start Earth Day, which took place April 22.

Residents are responsible for their city’s cleanliness

Desrochers said Mississauga is trying to fight the same litter challenges facing surrounding cities.

She said the 20-minute cleanup was about raising awareness and showing residents they’re responsible for their city’s cleanliness.

“When we were picking up garbage along the street on Friday, many of the drivers in passing vehicles were beeping, waving and giving thumbs up,” she said. “They weren’t physically picking up litter, but they definitely knew the 20-minute makeover was in progress and they were showing their support.”

Desrochers said litter is not simply an aesthetic issue, but causes many negative results. “It ruins the beauty of a community. So it affects tourism, business and development,” she said.

She said litter is also a safety hazard because it can cause traffic accidents, injury to pets and is also a breeding ground for disease.

“Think about toxins from cigarette butts. Although aesthetics is a prime concern, health is also a factor,” she said.

The city of Mississauga will be continuing anti-littering campaigns throughout the summer.