Sunday, July 09, 2006

Litter in Montreal

The City of Montreal has been promoting its new anti-litter initiative in recent weeks. Councillor Marcel Tremblay roped in some kids recently to wear orange vests and clean the city. Meanwhile, the city's (unionized) employees are making advances in their goal of not doing any work.

Here's a photo on D├ęcarie Blvd. (facing south, at Queen Mary Rd.) on July 8 at 4:22pm. Note the city sweeper on the left. Notice the litter on the right.

Click the image for a larger version

Perhaps if the city asked its employees to do their job, it wouldn't need teenage summer workers in orange vests to pick up trash.

What's the root cause of the litter problem? I know some people carelessly throw their litter on the ground. Others accidentally drop stuff or watch helplessly as their stuff blows away.

But I suspect the major cause of litter on our streets are (1) tears in garbage bags that occur when trash collectors pick up residential trash and (2) wind blowing the contents of overflowing public trash bins.

The second problem suggests that most people genuinely want to do the right thing. They don't want to litter. But there just aren't enough garbage bins.

Overflowing garbage bin at the Place du Canada on July 1

Cause #2 could be resolved if the city asked its garbage collectors to empty every public trash bin on their route (instead of just the ones that are completely full). I've witnessed city trash collectors peek into half-filled garbage bins and move on without emptying them.

I wish the city good luck in its anti-litter initiative. I'll do my part. But unless the city gets better results from its paid employees, the problem isn't going to go away.

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