The Garbage Strike Blues

For those of you that don’t know, Toronto is in the midst of a city workers union strike in which garbage pickup, city maintenance, summer camps, etc. have all been stopped by the striking union. More information.

This garbage strike is really getting me down lately. We’re into day 25 of it here with no end in sight. My neighbourhood is still relatively clean, but the area that I work in is disgusting. (The photos on BlogTO were taken in my work area. You see what I have to deal with every day!)

Everywhere I look, there are trashcans filled to overflowing. Litter lines the streets, floats in the air, is tangled in trees and gardens and otherwise makes itself a nuisance.

The smells are pretty bad, too. People are no longer sorting their organic materials out, and are just dumping it all wherever they please which makes everything doubly stinky. The streets and sidewalks are sticky, slippery and smelly and unpleasant to walk on.

People have now begun giving up on trying to find a proper trash receptacle. Now they’re just throwing things anywhere with no regard to the environment or other people. It breaks my heart to see my beloved city drowning in mounds of trash.

Granted, every city will have its various sanitation problems and Toronto is no exception. But with this city strike going on it is simply appalling.

I never really realized before this just how much trash we all produce. Sure, I see what I directly put out on the curb every 2 weeks, but to see that multiplied by 2.5 million people—astounding.

I suppose if I were to look on the bright side, I would hope that Torontonians would make the same observations that I did—quite simply, we are still producing too much trash. I have been making a conscious attempt to reduce my output, especially with this strike going on. It’s tough to do, but I’m making the effort.

I think that Toronto is slowly moving in the right direction, but we’ve got a long way to go.

I can’t wait for this strike to be over. Even with my limited trash output, I’ve run out of bins to store it all in.

6 thoughts on “The Garbage Strike Blues”

  1. Makes me feel better about not having had the time to get to Toronto yet this summer.

    Sorry you're up to your eyeballs in garbage, eh!

  2. Yuuuuck! I walk by the huge trash bag piles here on the streets of NY regularly but they're picked up within the day. I can't imagine them all sitting there rotting away. Good luck!

  3. I agree the trash is stinky, and I walk past things and sigh, but it bothers me that trash is the one thing everyone hears with the strike.

    What about the mothers who have lost their jobs because the only daycare they can afford is no longer available, and they have to stay at home to watch their kids?

    Or the reduced EMS service that increases waiting time for ambulances? There was the man who died while waiting 45 minutes for an emergency ambulance following what I believe was a heart attack?

    Or all the high school and university students who had jobs for the summer, but are now no longer able to work, because of city workers on strike?

    The whole thing is ridiculous. I don't have a cushy union that says I am guaranteed a wage increase every year, nor do any of my friends. My 5 days of sick leave a year cannot be carried over, and certainly not cashed out upon retirement. The union is basically holding our city hostage, and completely out of touch with reality. We're in a recession. It seems stupid to even be considering striking in a recession.

  4. Hear hear, EMMA! I couldn't have said it better myself.


    Maybe this will be the silver lining — people are going to reduce waste as a result of seeing this in the streets?

  5. Emma, I totally agree. There are many services and people that have been negatively affected by this strike–it's ridiculous.

    I spoke about the garbage because it's the service that is affecting me the most. Though I'm pretty bummed that the public pools are closed, too :(

    I think it's stupid that people are losing their jobs due to lack of childcare and the union is able to strike, still be paid and get all their cushy benefits.

    Of course I don't know the whole story, but I still think they have it WAY better than a lot of us Torontonians.

    They need to get off their high horse and get a reality check.

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