Illegal Dumping in Parks and on Streets

Cleanliness of city parks is a direct responsibility of the City.  It’s a tough job in a big city and the the sanitation department can use your help.

Selfish, thoughtless citizens and organizations throw tons of garbage, illegally, into parks, ravines and green spaces every day – into areas where dogs run, children play and adults go for a bit of peace and quiet – severely detracting from public enjoyment of the park.  It’s a health and safety hazard.  The Friends of Dieppe Park believe it’s a basic right to be free of the effects of illegal dumping.

When illegal dumping occurs and is reported by calling the non-emergency number 311, the City is obligated to respond.  It’s been my experience that the response time is usually “reasonable.”  Friends of Dieppe Park believe that citizens have a civic duty to phone in a complaint or observation of illegal dumping for the health and safety of all citizens.

When that call is made – yes, you can call without giving your name – the City is now aware of the problem and is obligated to take action.  Moreover, the incident is tracked and becomes part of an ongoing record of problem areas and resources can be better channeled to deal with ongoing illegal dumping.

After a call to 311, you can also call the office of your local councilor and make them aware of the situation for their own records and possible future action.  If you don’t know the name and number of your councilor, you can ask during your 311 call.

When you call about illegal dumping, it’s very helpful if you can describe or list the type of material dumped.  For example, if it’s a refrigerator, stove or car, that would require different pickup equipment and personnel than say a few bags of household rubbish.  Often, the operator will give you a confirmation or case number that you can use to track and follow up on the report.  Be persistent and call back if no action is taken within a reasonable time.

If you observe an act of illegal dumping FODP suggests that you:

  •  Ensure your own safety, and those you are responsible for, first and foremost
  • Note time, date and place
  • Observe the vehicle
  • Do not make your presence known
  • Do not touch the material dumped
  • Report the vehicle, not the individual
  • Record license plate number, vehicle description
  • Call the non-emergency number 311

You can also report overflowing public garbage cans, which can be just as much as a health hazard, using the 311 number.

As a matter of public safety, you may also want to report standing water in parks and green areas.  This is important from April to August as this is prime mosquito breeding time and concerns about West Nile Virus, while often overblown, are not without basis.  The Toronto Public Health (TPH) and Municipal Licensing and Standards (MLS) have developed a joint West Nile Virus response protocol and are obliged to act.

For a complete listing of services offered through the 311 number, go to the City of Toronto Website.

Contacting 311

  • Phone within Toronto city limits: 311
  • Phone outside city limits: 416-392-CITY (2489)
    (can be used within Toronto if you can’t reach 311)
  • TTY customers: 416-338-0TTY (0889)
  • Fax: 416-338-0685
  • E-mail: 311@toronto.ca

 – Article courtesy of Ed Horner – FODP

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