July 15, 2024

The Queens County Citizen

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Montreal is still very dirty at the start of the big cleanup

Montreal is still very dirty at the start of the big cleanup

Montreal's streets are still dirty, even as the city promises to step up its cleaning operations ahead of the start of its real spring cleaning on Monday.

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“It's always the same story when I come back to Montreal this time of year. There's trash everywhere,” says Mathieu Dufour, who has just returned home after months in Portugal.

“On one side of the street, it's disgusting. Everyone leaves cans, trash cans on the ground, it's disgusting,” said a resident of the Ville-Marie district.

In Fullam Street, empty recycling bins sit next to a tattered garbage bag.

Photo by Anouk Lebel

However, the city has vowed to press ahead with its cleanup efforts in the face of dirt earlier revealed by this year's snowmelt.

A big cleanup

“We have made progress, but in March, it will be difficult to start a large operation. We are focusing on activities that can be done manually in the parks,” explained Philippe Sabourin, a spokesman for the city.

In March, the city won't replace shovels with brush brooms on its equipment for fear of a new storm. It also limits water usage to prevent sidewalks from freezing.

So the real big clean starts on the 1ster April, through a parking ban that allows mechanical sweepers of tanker trucks to still get rid of garbage on the streets of the metropolis.

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According to Mr. Sabourin, fast food containers and cigarette butts make up a large percentage of waste in the public domain.

Containers and pieces of cardboard littered the sidewalk in the Ville-Marie district.

Photo by Anouk Lebel

Collecting 150,000 tonnes of small stones is also required, crushed stone used by the city as anti-slip in winter.


The spring clean-up operation will last six weeks, mobilize more than 600 pieces of equipment and 1,000 employees on the ground, and cost Montrealers $50 million.

There is still a lot of work to do after the “bottle winter”, said Mr. Sabourin noted that means the last snow load operation was in early January.

“When we load snow in Montreal, we collect all the waste at the same time. The perception that it's dirty is partly true and partly true because we don't have an ice-loading operation,” he says.

“The geographic location and weather conditions make it difficult to compare Montreal to another metropolis,” he says.

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