Our once clean city of Ottawa is slowly becoming a garbage dump

Our once clean city of Ottawa is slowly becoming a garbage dump
Posted on December 4, 2015 | Leslie Creelman | Written on December 4, 2015
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Author's Note:

Author's Note:

I'm so tired of seeing garbage along the roads and in the parks of  this city. The city simply can't stay on top of this issue and I feel they need to bring in help. This letter contains my ideas of how to improve the situation in hopes of living in a clean city.

Is it just me, or has the city become much dirtier over the past decade?  By dirty I mean garbage / debris everywhere. If you have not noticed this, I urge you to take a drive, bike or walk just about anywhere in the city and glance at the medians, shoulders and grassy areas along the roads. If you don’t see a piece or pieces of garbage every 20 feet, I would be very surprised. Needless to say this is more common in busier areas, especially where there are businesses and construction.

However, residential areas are not much better. Pride of ownership seems to have gone by the wayside, and I’m not sure why. I think people assume the city will clean up the garbage. The problem with this belief is that the city has become so large, it can no longer keep up with the cleaning. They simply do not have the resources.

What is the solution you ask?

It won’t be easy, but here are a few suggestions (realistic or not):

  • The Spring and Fall Clean the Capital program, which encourages volunteers to clean public spaces are great, but they are not enough, as many people are not willing to clean up beyond their own property. They need to happen more than twice a year. How about once a month?
  • Incorporate city cleaning into probation programs for young offenders, rather than just having them visit a probation officer once a month. This might instill city pride.
  • Provide city cleanup part time jobs, especially for students or those looking to get off welfare.
  • Offer credits to students who are willing to clean up garbage around their school.
  • Enclose public garbage containers to prevent wildlife from pulling out garbage. Provide recycling in public parks, as recyclable items are ending up in landfills.
  • Home owners, store owners, schools, churches, anyone who owns property need to contain their garbage / recycling better as well as clean up their property on a daily basis, whether or not the garbage belongs to them.
  • Businesses should be involved in daily cleanup of their property and they should be required by law to have ashtrays outside their building, especially restaurants and bars.
  • Large businesses which create a lot of garbage, such as McDonalds and Tim Hortons, should be part of regular city cleanup. 80% of the garbage I see are from these two companies.
  • Garbage cleanup throughout the city could be more frequent.
  • Fines should be given to those who throw their cigarette butts on the ground in public places. Why have a by-law if it isn’t enforced?
  • Construction companies should be required to do better cleanup of their sites, while construction is underway, not just upon completion.
  • OC Transpo bus stops should have garbage cans and recycling bins, and/or more frequent cleanup of all bus stops.
  • Large events where beverages are being served could sell reusable mugs, rather than plastic cups. I believe the Folk Festival did that this year.
  • Any individual who is a regular tea/coffee drinker should always carry around a reusable mug. There are way too many throw away cups going into landfills.
  • Any individual who wants to drink water on the go should carry a reusable water bottle. Way too many plastic bottles are ending up in landfills and oceans. Why pay for water?

What is being done now is clearly not enough based on the amount of garbage I see on a daily basis. I used to love this city, but sadly it is looking more and more like a garbage dump.

Please don't compare us to other cities. We can do much better. We are representing the country after all.

Finally, if this issue concerns you, consider voicing your concern to those who might be able to make change. 

Marilyn.Journeaux@ottawa.ca (Manager Solid Waste Facilities)
Kevin.Wylie@ottawa.ca (General Manager, Environmental Services)
Jim.Watson@ottawa.ca (Mayor of Ottawa)

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