The Province of Ontario has declared today, Tuesday, May 9, as the Provincial Day of Action on Litter. The day encourages individuals, students, municipalities and businesses across the province to work together to raise awareness about the impacts of litter and waste and take part in a litter cleanup.
Hamilton has numerous environmental initiatives
The City of Hamilton already has several programs in place to support the initiative. A report to the City’s Public Works Committee on April 17, 2023 demonstrated the cost of litter. Outside of scheduled waste collection , litter cleanup cost taxpayers ere $2,191,811 in 2020, $2,665,812 in 2021 and $2,350,779 in 2022.
City waste and litter collection efforts include:
• collection and disposal of litter in parks, cemeteries and City-owned natural open spaces;
• routine collection and disposal of litter within the right-of-way, including along the Lincoln Alexander and Red Hill Valley Parkway and in alleys;
• collection of any illegal dumped materials on city property such as in ditches, roadways and parks;
• bi-annual watercourse and shoreline clean-ups, and litter collection at stormwater facilities and storm sewer outfalls.
Hamilton’s Environmental Services Department coordinates and supports several volunteer initiatives, which include litter remediation programs, such as Team Up to Clean Up and Adopt-a-Park, as well as other community-led litter pick-up activities.
The Clean and Green Hamilton Strategy relies on volunteer engagement. Litter Remediation Programs drew 4041 volunteers who came together for a combined 12017 hours worked. Such remediation programs include Team Up to Clean Up, Adopt a Park, Beautiful Alleys, and The Escarpment Project. This volunteer turnout is a marked increase from the last two years. During their efforts, the volunteer workforce—valued at nearly $306 000, collected 8760 bags of waste.
Other green initiatives
In addition to the popular Clean and Green program Environmental Services staged other events aimed at cleanup or raising public awareness and appreciation:
- Approximately 300 of these volunteers worked on the Adopt a Park initiative under the Beautification pillar. They provided maintenance to sixty-five Hamilton municipality parks, collecting litter, removing bulk items, picking up yard waste, and planting trees. Adopt A Park also maintained forty-one pollinator gardens and installed art and murals in several public spaces across the city.
- Volunteers also greatly contributed to the Hamilton Trillium Awards Program. 2022 saw seventy-four additional volunteers be trained for assessment, before travelling to score the 733 Trillium nominated gardens around Hamilton.
- 2022’s Beautification pillar saw increased turnout at community garden shows. The Spring Tide Bulb Show was held on March 11 for the first time since 2019 drew nearly 18 000, an increase of 6000 from its last event. Visitors donated $11 933 and 9778 pounds of food for the Hamilton Food Share. Every dollar raised $5 worth of food, generating $59 667.
- The Fall and Garden Mum Show brought in a near identical crowd to 2021—just over 12 000—from October 14 to 23.
- During the pandemic the Waste Virtual Classroom was created. Tailored to students grades one through five, but being able to accommodate up to eighth graders, the classroom offers 165 programs and saw north of 3700 attendees over the course of 2022.
There are actions that all can take to put litter in its proper place:
• Wind-blown waste and recycling: try not to overfill your blue box or garbage container as loose items above the brim can blow down the street and become litter.
• Preventing waste and litter: do your part to stop waste before it is created, and before it has the chance to become litter. For example, choose to buy goods with less packaging or bring a reusable cup to take-out establishments that allow them.
• Properly disposing of waste in public spaces: Make sure trash is securely placed in garbage bins in public spaces like our parks.
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