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Edmonton residents focused on throwing out garbage

Edmonton – The City of Edmonton says there has been a significant reduction in litter around the city.

According to the Capital City Clean Up’s 2013 Litter Audit, the amount of large litter is down 42 per cent and small litter has dropped by 40 per cent since 2009.

“It’s a cost effective way to mobilize our citizens to do something that would otherwise be extremely costly for our city to try to do all on our own, to try to clean up such a large city without the aid of our citizens,” said Mayor Don Iveson.

MGM Management conducted the audit by examining 122 of 123 city sites audited in previous years. The collected items were sorted into large litter like candy bar wrappers and tabacco packaging and small litter like cigarette butts and chewing gum.

“Based on the way the audit’s conducted – it’s methodical, it’s same locations year over year – they are showing a reduction, and we’re quite excited about it and we’re going to continue pushing for a reduction,” said Don Belanger, Capital City Clean Up Program Manager.

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Cigarette butts – the largest category of small litter – showed a 29 per cent decrease from 2012.

Mayor Don Iveson gives some of the credit to the city’s Cigarette Education and Enforcement campaign over the past summer.

“From June until September, 282 smokers were approached, 208 received complimentary Tims cards for the proper disposal of their cigarettes, 41 were issued warnings and 33 were issued tickets,” said Iveson.

Belanger was surprised when he first saw the reduction in the littering of cigarette butts.

“To see that level of reduction in just one year, is huge. We are quite excited about it. We think we’re on the right track.”

Tobacco packaging was down 20 per cent from 2012.

However, other large litter items like construction debris and vehicle and metal road debris have increased by 58 per cent and 111 per cent respectively since 2009. Capital City Clean Up says a greater focus needs to be made to address unsecured loads and litter tossed from moving vehicles.

Mayor Iveson is asking more Edmontonians to get involved in the program.

“A call out to citizens. If you aren’t already involved in Capital City Clean Up or if you are, you know, rope your neighbors in, start a team, become a block captain.”

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Around 900 Adopt-a-Block volunteers and nearly 4,900 team members and 41 program partners worked with Capital City Clean Up in 2013.

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