In Toronto we are lucky to have a park system that is accessible to most residents and contains stretches of astonishingly beautiful scenery. As a person who walks daily in our parks, it never fails to astound me how some people aren’t just careless with our parks, they seem determined to fill them with litter. There is a man who on his way through Raymore and Lions parks regularly drinks then drops a can of Ensure (a dietary supplement) along the way. Apparently he is having trouble with his bowel movements as this version of the supplement contains extra fibre. This man will actually pass a garbage can and wait until he thinks nobody is watching before slinging his trash into the grass. He is not alone. There are all manner of food and beverage containers strewn daily by the lazy, malevolent and careless. There is a picnic table by the Lions Park tennis courts that is surrounded by beer bottle caps and other detritus of drinking parties including human waste if you are foolish enough to venture into the nearby bushes. Then there are the dog owners who pick up after their pet but sling the bag into the bush where it will take forever to decompose. Parks staff and supervisors never seem to be around unfortunately so most often it is left to citizens to remove individual acts of littering or sound the alarm whenever trash builds up in an area (by the stairs leading to Hickory Tree Road for example).
We shouldn’t totally despair. There are angels who will without fuss, pick up litter from the park and carry it to a trash or recycling container. They love the parks and operate on the principle that trash attracts more trash. It has been shown that people are more reluctant to litter a clean area than a dirty one.
We can only hope in this age of service cuts and an anticipated reduction of park maintenance, that people and the City will increase their efforts to protect our parks and keep them beautiful. If you would like to provide input on the way our parks are run, the city would like your opinion through a survey.