Highland Creek lighter of litter after Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup

Scarborough residents and Centennial College students joined forces to give the city a little sparkle on Oct. 20.

A trash-picking event took place at Highland Creek near the Cedarbrook Community Centre at 91 East Park Blvd. It was part of this year’s Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, which launched nation-wide last month.

Dead animals, clothes and scraps of metal were among the things collected Sunday around the creek.

“Why is there a broken shopping cart near the creek?” Mohammad Ayaz-Zafar, a 19-year-old volunteer, said.

Students gathered several bags of garbage and were asked to separate the recyclables.

Litter found near shorelines and creeks has long-term effects that negatively impact ecosystems, according to the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup organizers.

“Littering degrades the environment depending on what is being littered and it makes the area look less appealing,” said Timothy Chen, president of the Environmental Student Society at Centennial College.

The Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation department participated in the cleanup as well providing shovels, gloves, waste bags and native plant species. Volunteers also planted trees.

“Trees keep the air clean, they provide habitats and food for wildlife,” said Teresa Bosco, a natural environment specialist from the City of Toronto. “They prevent erosion by anchoring soil with their roots.

“And as a part of a natural environment in parks, trees provide a break from the hard landscaping of the city.”

The mix of trees and shrubs that were planted included silver maple, red oak, basswood, smooth rose, blue beach and gray dogwood.

“Planting trees in the city of Toronto keeps the urban forest healthy now and for years to come,” Bosco said. “As older trees die off, planted trees are growing so we have a healthy complement of trees at different ages.”

The event included a barbeque, and prizes and gifts made from recyclable items were handed out by the Environmental Student Society from Centennial College.

“I’m very happy to see people coming together to care for the environment,” Ayaz-Zafar said. “It’s a good way to get involved with the community and I’m glad we can make a difference.”