Take the two-bag litter challenge!

Mark your calendars! Toronto’s 15th spring cleanup is taking place April 20-22 in harmony with Earth Day. Most years this event has felt like me cleaning up Trace Manes Park, alone. Inspired by Davida Vineberg, who contacted me about issuing a ‘two-bag litter challenge,’ I decided to reach out to the community to discover what activities were being planned and hopefully encourage new ones.

The first to jump in was Leaside Life’s Suzanne Park. “Zhen and I will register for Trace Manes’ clean-up crew and recruit neighbours.” Thank you, Suzanne – I am no longer alone!

Davida shared, “I collect trash that is of value including beer and liquor bottles and cans. When I’m waiting at a bus stop, I pick up litter. People must think I’m strange, but I push that aside and remind myself that I’m standing out for the reason that I’m choosing to do what’s right for the environment. I call this act ‘Public Displays of Collection’. I’ve also made contact with Trae (Zammit), owner of The Smokin’ Cigar, and have been invited to join the BIA ‘Spring Sweep the Streets’ panel. I couldn’t be more excited!”

Garbage in bag.Barbara Sandler, Principal at Northlea, told me about their ‘Generation Innovation’. “Our school is exploring issues and developing solutions that positively impact the environment. We are redoing our outdoor space to accommodate children of all ages and abilities; participating in the Toronto Leaside Rotary Club Tree Planting Project; and investigating an Earth Day Canada ‘Outdoor Play and Learning Program for Schools’ that aims to make outdoor play an integral part of the school day”.

Grade 5 teacher Barbara Robson told me, “My students are passionate about ‘greening our community’. Our focus is on ‘Changing Our Relationship with Plastic’. We are exploring the harm caused through single-use plastic and black materials such as straws, sushi and Styrofoam trays that cannot be recycled. We are asking ourselves: how can we reduce or eliminate the amount of plastic we use only once, encourage others to do the same, and encourage the City of Toronto to recycle black plastic?”

Cleanup activities will be in full swing Friday afternoon at Rolph Road School. Diane Brown, who runs the Eco Club, told me that “all classes will be involved in cleaning the entire school yard, around the block and Sandy Bruce Park.” Inspiring, and thank you!

Howard Birnie confirmed that the Leaside Baseball Association is stepping up to the plate. “We will definitely be doing a cleanup at Talbot and are working on a plan to get many of our players involved.”

St. Cuthbert’s Church will again be removing debris from the top end of the Bayview Extension south to Nesbitt Drive on Saturday, April 21, 10 a.m.-noon. Nancy Wahlroth calls it “a great inter-generational multi-faith activity.” Last year they were joined by members of Leaside Presbyterian and Leaside United as well as Councillors Burnside and Matlow. “This year we’re hoping for even more people to join us. Be sure to wear protective gloves, waterproof boots and bring a bottle of water.”

And the Bayview-Leaside BIA is hosting its third annual ‘Spring Sweep the Streets’ event on Saturday, April 21, 9 a.m. to noon. Cheryl Sims wrote to say that “business owners, community members and the hardworking Pixies will be there with broom in hand and we invite all residents to join in. Meet us at the corner of Bayview and Millwood at 9 to pick up gloves, garbage bags and brooms. Snacks and refreshments will be provided and we’re planning a ‘sweepstakes’ for volunteers.”

Let’s all take the ‘two-bag litter challenge’ and clean up Leaside together. Don’t just complain about litter…do something about it!

About Cheryl Vanderburg 43 Articles
Cheryl Vanderburg writes the monthly column "Leaside Litterati." She is a local 'plogger' who combines her love of walking with picking up litter. She hopes to inspire all Leasiders to join this newest craze to stay fit and keep our neighborhood green and clean.