Litterbugs costing city $5M annually


Taxpayers have apparently forgotten how to use trash cans.

There’s garbage all over the place each time Mary Nahoum goes to Mooney’s Bay.

“People don’t know how to clean up after themselves and it’s getting worse every year,” said Nahoum, a south Ottawa resident.

“I go there occasionally and there’s always trash everywhere, especially on the grass and the hills and even the sand.”

Nahoum said there are a lot of garbage cans “but they’re always full.”

The trash doesn’t deter her from going, “but I prefer it not to be there,” she said.

An estimated $5 million taxpayer dollars is spent cleaning up litter each year, the city confirmed Monday.

Cigarettes count as litter.

Canadian smokers toss away nearly 8,000 tonnes of butts annually and it takes 15 years to decompose, according to information posted on the city website.

Butts should be disposed of in an ashtray or a butt stop.

The Sun counted hundreds of improperly discarded cigarette butts in the Byward Market Monday afternoon.

“Technically, as a tourist city, I think the expectation is a little higher for cleanliness in the city,” said Fushia Gordon of Gloucester.

Susan Kravetz, visiting from Springfield, New Jersey, said Ottawa is much cleaner than New York City.

“I don’t see litter around, it’s just the cigarette butts. That’s it,” said Kravetz.

“I don’t really see papers and cups and things like that. You know, I think it’s pretty clean.”

Litter was still visible: Everything from plastic forks to water bottles to a partially eaten apple to chocolate and candy wrappers was found on the pavement in the Market.

Most items were nestled in corners or lining the curb.

“I can’t think of a complaint that we’ve received about litter,” said Jantine Van Kregten from Ottawa Tourism, adding she’s worked there for almost nine years.

“It’s definitely not top of mind. In fact, the exact opposite is true. Consistently, we hear how clean and green and welcoming the city is.”

Sports fields are cleaned by city staff every week.

During the summer, students called the Bucket Beat Brigade collect litter in the downtown core and empty receptacles.

Registration for the fall Cleaning the Capital Campaign begins Aug. 15.

More than 63,335 volunteers participated in at least 1,000 cleanup projects across the city during the spring session.

Since 1994, 768,000 residents have taken part.


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