Mississauga residents urged to report trash in parks to help fight huge litter problem


Published August 25, 2022 at 10:31 am

Mississauga residents are being urged to help fight a huge litter problem in the city by reporting trash and illegal dumping wherever they see it.

Specifically, City of Mississauga officials want help cleaning up picnic areas, parks and even highways and ramps.

They remind people using greenspaces to pick up after their dogs and place the waste along with other items such as coffee cups, used decorations and other garbage into the proper public trash cans.

Empty plastic bottles/containers and aluminum cans should be tossed into recycling bins.

Anyone who notices litter hotspots or illegal dumping taking place is asked to report it by calling the City’s info line at 311 or visiting the City’s website.

Garbage and debris on the 400-series highways/ramps should be reported to the Ministry of Transportation at 1-800-268-4686.

City officials say after receiving reports of litter or dumping, they’ll start an investigation within five business days. Stiff fines for littering (up to $500 or more) and illegal dumping can be levied.

Mississauga parks staff have dealt with a significant litter problem since early spring, when melting snow revealed tonnes of discarded trash on streets, in parks, rivers and streams, and elsewhere–even in places where plenty of garbage cans are available nearby.

In April, City clean-up crews reported a dramatic increase in the amount of litter since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic just over two years ago.

Relatively new litter items such as discarded face masks and other PPE (personal protective equipment) were found on the streets and in parks in large numbers, officials say, many of the items hanging from trees and bushes.

“Masks and other discarded PPE have added to litter and pollution in forests, woodlands, parks, rivers and creeks,” they noted at the time.

Additionally, coffee cups, pop cans, water bottles, pieces of Styrofoam, old drywall, fast food wrappers/containers, cigarette butts and gum were all found piled up in ditches, parks and even hanging from trees.

Particularly troublesome, the City said, was the amount of trash found to be blocking stormwater catch basins on streets. Clogging those areas can lead to flooding.

“Even with additional waste bins and more frequent emptying, litter continues to be a problem,” officials said in the spring. “Litter is completely preventable, yet it continues to be a big problem in Mississauga.”

Clean-up crews say littering negatively impacts everyone and everything including children, pets, wildlife and the environment.

“Areas that are commonly used by children like parks, playgrounds and sports fields are not safe if covered in litter. It can pose a health and safety concern for our youngest residents,” officials say.

In May, a spate of incidents in which people were leaving garbage on the ground beside overflowing public bins in parks prompted a plea from parks officials for people to take their garbage home or to another public waste can.

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