Walking through Morningside Park you’ll see beautiful streams, people throwing tennis balls for their dogs, and a slew of trash littering all sides of the parking lot.
But not for too much longer.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford announced the 3rd annual Clean Toronto Together Campaign, where schools and workplaces will participate in a clean up day on April 19.
The Environmental Student Society at Centennial College’s Morningside Campus will be organizing the cleanup for the college, says faculty advisor Michael Gauthier.
Garbage isn’t only unpleasant for the environment but also for the eye, so if the community takes more pride in their parks and uses them more actively then maybe others will recognize that, and not be so careless, he said.
“In a lot of cases, the waste is not necessarily toxic, but it’s an esthetic problem, so when … a person dumps garbage, it’s easier for the next person to dump,” Gauthier said, pointing at the large pile of trash by the parking lot. “Eventually if they get into the water course, depending on the type of product, maybe it’s plastics, that get into the Highland Creek itself, they break down, but they still form a chemical compound … fish or birds start to eat it, it can cause mortality in that species.”
Barb Elliot is a professor of ecosystem management at Fleming College in Peterborough. She says that it’s important to remove certain products containing DDT and petroleum from the environment, such as plastics.
“The problem is when you get chemicals that are what we call ‘persistent’ in the environment,” she said. “So in other words they don’t break down. They either don’t break down at all or they break down incredibly slowly and/or leave residual compounds in the ecosystem.”
At Centennial, the student society has taken part in the city’s cleanup for five or six years, but this year marks their own 15th annual spring cleanup that will take place the following week, on April 27th. It will be in McCowan District Park.
Last year 370 people came out to that event. Students, members of the community, Centennial College alumni and their families come out to the park and partake in the barbecue, a contest for prizes and of course, the clean up.
“It creates opportunity for community engagement within the college, and outside the college in environmental initiatives,” said Gauthier.