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Local sparks campaign against butts

It started with a sign on the wall of the Local Pub Eatery that said, “Please discard your butts responsibly.”

There was a disposal bucket underneath it and no butts to be found on the ground.

I was delighted and intrigued.

Cigarette butt disposal on streets, parks and outside of buildings is becoming a big problem in our neighbourhood.

I wrote to the manager, Jeff, who answered:

“Thanks for reaching out. I can tell you the sign is working at LOCAL. It is important to us that we are mindful and respectful of our neighbours and thus we worked with the community to understand their needs. We quickly created this sign to ensure guests knew to dispose of their cigarettes properly and remind our customers to do so if necessary.”

Lately the lawn and walkway entrance to Trace Manes park and the ground along the back wall of the Leaside Library have become littered with discarded butts. Not only are they nasty to look at, they are catching on people’s shoes and being tracked into the buildings.

Leaside Litterati to the rescue, I hoped.

I contacted Councillor Jon Burnside’s office about the library and the park.

The library result was encouraging.

The councillor’s office emailed me to say, ‘We have placed a request for an Astral bin,which has a cigarette disposal, near the entrance of the library. A feasibility study will be conducted this summer and if feasible, the bin will be installed as part of the 2017 rollout.”

Library staff replied. “As always, we have a staff member who walks around the library perimeter on a regular basis to pick up trash/cigarette butts.”

The park presented some problems.

The caretaker explained that because of the new smoking bylaw of 2015, “It is now against the law to smoke within nine metres of an entrance or exit of any building that is used by the public”, so the cigarette butt receptacle on the entrance wall was removed. The bylaw also states that building owners are to “place any ashtrays beyond the prohibited area”.

Burnside’s office inquired about having an Astral bin placed outside of the nine-meter perimeter range. The response from facilities management was, “Cigarette butt containers cannot be placed adjacent to playgrounds as it is illegal to smoke on and around children’s playgrounds and publicly owned sport fields and surfaces… that are owned by a municipality, the province or a postsecondary education institution.”

I asked if a litter abatement program could be put in place to clean up the butts on a regular basis as required by the bylaw: “The owner of land on which refuse has been thrown, placed, dumped or deposited shall immediately clean and clear the refuse from the land.”

I am waiting for their response.