News release

Mississauga has a Littering Problem

Environment | April 22, 2022

The snow melt in Mississauga has uncovered a big problem – litter – and there’s tonnes of it. The influx of garbage has become a consistent issue for City maintenance crews who are working hard to keep up with the growing amount of litter in the city. Even with additional waste bins and more frequent emptying, litter continues to be a problem in Mississauga.

Coffee cups, used masks, pop cans, water bottles, Styrofoam pieces, old drywall, fast food wrappers, cigarette butts and gum can all be found piled up in ditches, parks, streets, blocking stormwater catchbasins and hanging from trees and off bushes. The City has seen an increase in litter since the start of the pandemic. Sadly, discarded face masks are also becoming part of the problem. Masks and other discarded PPE have added to litter and pollution in forests, woodlands, parks, rivers and creeks.

Littering impacts everyone:

  • Children and Youth – 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.
  • Pets – any pet owner knows how important it is for their animal to not ingest garbage and debris off the streets. When dog parks and trails are covered in litter, it’s hard to keep them from coming in contact with it.
  • Environment – increased litter can contaminate our drinking water. It is estimated that almost 10,000 tonnes of plastic debris enter Ontario’s lakes and rivers each year according to the Government of Ontario.
  • Wildlife – small animals become innocent victims in eating, becoming entangled or entrapped in discarded litter like plastic soda can holders, jars, cups, netting or eating plastic bottle caps.

Where’s the litter coming from?
Litter comes from different places. Litter happens out of unawareness, convenience, laziness or carelessness. The City has installed waste and recycle bins in parks, waste bins at some bus stops, parking lots and sidewalks so people can dispose of their waste properly. According to the Government of Ontario, residents in the province generate nearly one tonne of waste per person every year. This time of year, City crews are busy cleaning up a significant amount of litter, by the hundreds of bags full in our neighbourhoods, parks and streets. If you can, give them a hand.

Don’t get caught with a littering fine
Littering and illegal dumping in Mississauga is no joke. Fines can run upward of $500.

The Debris and Anti-Littering By-law prohibits the throwing, placing or depositing of refuse or debris on private property, or on property of the City.  Littering comes with a fine of up to $500. In Mississauga, it’s illegal to dump garbage, renovation, household or bulky items at facilities and parks.  Under the Environmental Protection Act an individual or company could face significant penalties for each offence committed.

Let’s take action!

As residents head out to use local trails, parks and green spaces – the City is asking people to do their part to keep Mississauga litter free. Residents are encouraged to take action to help keep our City clean and safe. Here are a few ways you can make a difference.

  • Follow all proper waste collection procedures.
  • Put your garbage, recycling, dog waste, disposable masks and gloves in the appropriate waste containers. If our park’s waste containers are full, look around – there may be another waste container close by or throw your garbage out at home.
  • Remember dog waste goes in waste bins, not recycling bins.
  • Don’t dump household waste, old bicycles, construction materials or furniture in the parks.
  • If you see litter, debris or illegal dumping, contact the City by calling 311 (905-615-4311 outside City limits) or reporting it online.
  • You can also help clean up litter in your community by adopting a park or road.
  • Organize a 20-minute makeover in your neighbourhood.

For more information about how to stop litter issues in your neighbourhood, visit mississauga.ca/litter.

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