Marc the Litter Guy Helps Clean Up Toronto

Some years ago I was asked for directions downtown by a couple of New Yorkers. After thanking me, one of them said, "Have to tell you, we're so impressed by how CLEAN Toronto is! We haven't seen any garbage on the streets anywhere." And maybe you've heard the story of how a U.S. film crew had their intentionally garbage-strewn street cleaned up by Toronto sanitation workers.

These days, however, people don't seem to have as many qualms about tossing their garbage into the street. Also, city cutbacks will mean less street cleaning.

When I saw someone picking up garbage from the street near Queen and John late this afternoon, I was surprised until I read his sign. As I handed him some money, he thanked me and said that he was trying to earn enough to get off the streets.

Out of curiosity, I Googled "The Litter Guy" when I got home and discovered that Marc the Litter Guy is collecting garbage because he doesn't want to panhandle. According to this blog post, Marc has been picking up about 80 bags of garbage a day for over a year now. Apparently he's even talking to faculty at the University of Toronto about a project where panhandlers could meet at the university then head off to different areas with garbage bags.

Great idea, of course, but I think we could all help out. The City of Toronto has a special call-in line for reporting "litter hot spots" (overflowing bin or basket, unusually dirty street or sidewalk): 39-CLEAN (392-5326). But more importantly, don't be a lazy slob...put your trash where it belongs. This includes chewing gum and cigarette butts; the latter can take up to 12 years to break down.

And if you see Marc around, do consider giving him some money.

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