Daily Archives: June 8, 2009

Stop littering Toronto’s streets

An argument against trashing the city
By Kris Scheuer

Want to make the planet a greener, cleaner place?
It’s easy.
We need to stop littering. Litter doesn’t just look bad, it’s costing city taxpayers millions a year to clean up and it’s an environmental hazard.
On Jan. 31, I was reminded about this problem twice. On my parents’ downtown Toronto street I saw a hand drawn poster on a pole with a picture of the planet.
In a child’s writing it said, “Save the World. You can start by not littering”.
Earlier that day, on the CBC radio show GO, David Suzuki and three grade 12 students from University of Toronto Schools spent the morning tackling some of the earth’s biggest eco challenges. The largest one they tried to solve was how to clean up the centre of the Pacific Ocean’s plastic garbage patch, a mess the show said was at least twice the size of the state of Texas.
Some floating plastic is broken into smaller pieces and mistaken for food by wildlife who can die by eating too much of this indigestible litter. The students on the show suggested setting up ahuge floating recycling station to clean up the litter and then setting up stiffer penalties for polluting. Continue reading


Gardening on the edge

Guerilla gardening (I’m fairly certain) has nothing to do with teaching gorillas to weed and tend to plots of land.
Rather, it’s a way to add cheer to a dull city lot by leaving behind planted flowers. The Toronto Public Space Committee has its own volunteer guerilla gardening group and has dubbed the activity “graffiti with nature”.
The time commitment is small: just a few hours to dig and plant a site.
The guerillas also create and toss “seed bombs” — on public sites like train tracks and bridges — designed to allow the seeds take root and have flowers sprout.
In case you accuse me of leading you down the garden path, you should know guerilla gardening is illegal: participants don’t own the land or seek permission to plant on city property.
But it’s highly unlikely you’ll get arrested or fined for digging in the dirt and leaving behind tulips or daisies, the city says.
“We are aware of their activities,” Elyse Parker of the city’s transportation services tells me. “We encourage people to make Toronto more beautiful.” Continue reading

Swimming at Sunnyside

By Kris Scheuer

The city’s diving head first into a pilot project to make Sunnyside Beach more swimmable.

Some Torontonians have no problem swimming at our beaches. File photo by Kris Scheuer/Town Crier.

In the past poor water quality has forced the city to issue warnings against swimming at Sunnyside, keeping the beach closed. Between 2005 and 2008, the local hot spot was only open for swimming between 31 and 65 percent of the season.
But it could soon be smoother sailing for the popular beach as the city has allocated $1 million to install a curtain to keep pollution from the Humber River away from a swimming section of the beach.
“The goal is to be swimming by mid to late June,” said Parkdale-High Park councillor Bill Saundercook. “So I intend to jump in that lake as soon as I get the green light to make a splash in more ways than one.
“This is a good expenditure to get citizens of Toronto to be swimming in front of Sunnyside Beach.” 
Sunnyside resident Mark Ellwood is cautiously willing to extend a toe to test the waters, but not quite committed to taking the plunge.   Continue reading