Saturday, June 10, 2006

Publish Day - Ink Blog - Dissing Toronto

I never pass up a good opportunity to tick off the residents of nearby cities. By the time I wrote today's column, I had already done it once this week. As a result, citizens of Sarnia will not be giving me the key to the city anytime soon (read more about that here.)

Today, it was Toronto's turn to get spanked. Maybe I'm overly puritanical, but any city that can't pull its act together shouldn't expect other residents in the region to pay for its mistakes. Look after your own, and be a good neighbour. Hopefully, someone in government there will read my piece and get the message.

Doubtful, of course. But one can always hope. And write.

Toronto told to clean up its act
Published Saturday, June 10, 2006
The London Free Press

Saying no to Toronto’s sludge is like telling the neighbourhood bully to go home and never come back. It’s empowering.

Every year, Toronto ships approximately 900,000 tonnes of garbage to a Michigan landfill. Effective August 1, the landfill will no longer accept the city’s treated sludge. It will continue to take the remaining 700,000 tonnes of regular waste.

Toronto says it is now considering all options. Our mayor, Anne Marie DeCicco, says Toronto can strike London’s name off the list, because the city will not be able to dump its sewage here.

Londoners should line the 401 and cheer our city’s initial response. Although we haven’t made any final decisions, we’re already sending a strong message that we won’t bow down to a city that is unable or unwilling to effectively manage its waste.

It’s high time Toronto stopped shipping its garbage 400 kilometers into Michigan. Our region is tired of the additional truck traffic – and risk – that this bizarrely complex waste management scheme brings.

Today it’s sludge. Eventually, refusals like ours could stop the flow of garbage for good.


Your turn: Is garbage disposal/landfill management an issue where you live?


vanx said...

Hi Carmi,
I cover the chemical industry and I've been to Sarnia. It really is, even compared to some places I've been in Texas, a quagmire--of course I haven't been there in 12 years, and the industry has really cleaned up some since then in most places. I think our quagmire is more in the Kanawa Valley in WV, but I've dodged that bullet. Lately I cover biotech and pharma. Cleaner (in some ways).

There used to be a giant Perc (the drycleaning chemical) bubble at the bottom of the river in Sarnia. Kind of like The Blob!

Have a good weekend!

utenzi said...

Michele sent me, Carmi.

I assume, but might be incorrect, that there's economic issues in the background here, Carmi. Does Toronto pay to dump their garbage / waste / sludge in other locales? If so, then it's perfectly reasonable to accept the garbage to keep local taxes down. Assuming you have a place to put the Toronto sludge, of course.

Here, where I live, we have a county landfill about 4 miles from where I live. From what I've seen, they accept limited amounts of nonlocal waster from commercial but small garbage hauling companies. For local residents, they charge 50 cents a bag. I don't recall what they charge a ton for commercial garbage.

Wordnerd said...

We actually used to be the target of northern garbage -- it would actually be brought down the Mississippi River and dropped off here. Fortunately that's no longer the case.

GenerallyTickedOff said...

Me again -- this time from Michele's!

Ms Knowitall said...

Not an issue here but good for your city for saying no.

Here from Michele's

David said...

hey dude - from michele wil staop back

rampant bicycle said...

Heh. Good on you, London. :)

Here from Michele's...

Jean-Luc Picard said...

900,000 tonnes is a lot of sludge to dump!

Michele sent me here.

keda said...

yes. big problems here, but though i don't know the ins and outs of the larger problem, it starts with disrespect of peoples own doorsteps here.

many of the poorer, uneducated people here lterally throw bags of rubbish out of their windows to the streets/gardens/balconies below. nobody uses bins, and we all dump all our garbage into skips at the end of the streets.

there is no official recycling collection, but peasants wander the streets sifting through the garbage and taking cans, paper, bottles, metal etc and sell it to factories and recycling plants. so that amazingly works quite well!

but the 'sludge' sewage etc still has problems. streets and even our plumbing often smells and we cannot drink tap water still..

keda said...

oops via michele today.

Jennifer said...

Well Toronto has to do something, because the city smells like $h*t. Literally. It's disgusting. Toronto the capital city of Ontario... what's that saying for our province!

I can pick on Toronto for another reason as well. The government is always telling us to "save energy" turn your lights off, do your laundry at night etc. Sitting in my hotel room at one in the morning and looking at the buildings ( offices in which clearly nobody is there) and every single light is on. Do you know how tall and how big those buildings are?

Yes..Toronto you better clean up your act!

verniciousknids said...

Visiting you as you visited me - thanks :D

Isn't this taking outsourcing a bit far?! I posted about the rules surrounding Japanese domestic garbage collection a while back. Check in my December archives if interested!

kontan said...

We do not here much about it around here. The last big "stink" was over having to use the waste management garbage containers instead of what the resident purchased. Not a huge deal maybe, but those things can run up $100 to get a heavy duty large container. So why wouldn't residents mind using WM containers instead of purchasing their own? b/c most had already spent the money to purchase one b/c WM did not supply them at the time THEN WM decides that they will supply them at a cost of $9/mo and residents have to use theirs.

Guess ours is an individual issue. I'm sure there are disputes concerning dumping, however they are underreported aruond here.

Stopped in from Michele's

ChaCha said...

You have a great eye for pictures and a way with words. Very talented indeed.

Tracie said...

It seems to me that Toronto should find a way to dispose of it's waste within it's own area. Where I live there have been lots of controversies over waste from a paper mill and nylon factory-but at least we keep it in our area and don't give it to other people. It also seems to me that to dispose of it locally would save on tax money as well.

Here via Michele!

jac said...

hiya carmi!
i really think that garbage/landfill management issues are increasing everywhere except in the most remote areas of the world, and even's an issue. there are many experimental means of eradicating waste under development, but i just wonder if it will catch up with the rate that we, in civilization, are producing wastes.

patricia said...

Disposing of all types of garbage is an issue with me, and not just because I live in Toronto.

What really bothers me about the garbage issue overall is the never-ending pressure by the government on all levels to put the onus on the typical consumer to take responsibility for our garbage woes. (A good example of this was that silly 'One Tonne Challenge' a while back). What we, and most especially the government should be doing is focusing on the SOURCE of our garbage problems, mainly the large corporations who create all this excess packaging and crap. Until we deal with this problem on that level, everything else is just a bandaid solution.

Of course, this approach will never be very popular with our politicians, especially if big corporations continue to fund our various political parties. There will always be that conflict of interest, for what politician will go out of their way to shame a corporation for polluting our planet, if they've just contributed money towards their campaign/party?

Oy, don't get me started....