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Edmontonians littering less, except on the Yellowhead

The city's litter audit finds there is less litter in Edmonton, except on one major roadway.
The city's litter audit finds there is less litter in Edmonton, except on one major roadway. Kael Donnelly

EDMONTON – The city’s seventh annual litter audit shows that, in general, Edmontonians are littering less. However, Yellowhead Trail saw a sharp increase in garbage.

Since 2009, there has been a 44 per cent reduction in large litter and a 41 per cent reduction in small litter, the Capital City Clean Up’s 2014 litter audit shows.

“The results … show that, in general, Edmontonians are working together toward a common goal of a cleaner city, but we still have work to do,” says councillor Bev Esslinger. “We must continue to challenge ourselves as a city to reduce litter even further.

“These results show we are on the right path, in many ways, and indicate where we can improve.”

Overall, there was a four per cent decrease in large litter and a two per cent decrease in small litter between 2013 and 2014. Paper napkins and tobacco packaging continue to be the most common large litter items, while cigarette butts remain one of the largest categories of small litter items.

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“We are on the right path when it comes to our efforts in keeping Edmonton a clean city,” explains Ioana Spiridonica, a Capital City Clean Up manager.

“There are some issues that need to be dealt with and that we are planning to focus on in 2015.”

The 2014 audit looked at the same 123 sites audited in previous years. It is done annually, while the Yellowhead Trail Litter Audit is done every other year.

But, the Yellowhead Trail Litter Audit found there was a 49 per cent increase in litter in that area since the last audit done in 2012. This particular audit looks at large litter at 20 sites along the road from 107 Street to the Beverly Bridge.

“Most of the litter items measured during the audit were construction debris, miscellaneous paper, plastic,” adds Spiridonica.

“According to the audit, they were the result of accidental or intentional littering.

“Stuff flying from moving vehicles or people littering because they just don’t want to use the appropriate garbage receptacles.”

Along that section of road, there has been a 63 per cent increase in litter between 2010 (when the first litter audit was done) to 2014.

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The city is looking at a mixed approach to reducing litter on the Yellowhead, including continued educational efforts and a new construction issues advisory committee.

More than 834 Adopt-a-Block volunteers, 2,718 team members and 45 program partners took part in the 2014 Capital City Clean Up.

Click here to find a summary of the litter audit.