The sun was shining at Labatt Park as many gathered to kick off the first day of London’s 12 Days of Cleaning event, running until April 23.
The stands were filled with many guests, including the London Environmental Network; Jay Stanford, director of climate change, environment and waste management at the city of London; London Mayor Ed Holder; Mike Smith, London Clean & Green founder and owner of Kool group restaurants. The annual event has been running for almost three decades and is a very important initiative for London.
“I think it’s a shame that this has to happen at all,” Holder said. “We live in a great city and some people just don’t respect how important it is to be clean and green.”
The focus this year is on the animals and how they are affected.
“One of the reasons we’re doing it for the animals and highlighting is they don’t have a voice,” Stanford said.
“Some of the items that are on the ground — you will see a squirrel, skunk, raccoon, eating those items and it’s just not fair to them. They’re part of our natural heritage here in London and they need a voice.”
Items that are most commonly littered in London and then consumed by animals are cigarette butts. Because of that, the London Environmental Network are focusing on cleaning them up.
“Every one in five pieces of litter is cigarette butts,” said Skylar Franke, executive director of London Environmental Network.
“It means a lot to the community to be picking up this litter every year. We really encourage individuals to go out and grab a couple of friends to pick up litter.”
London ranks number two for cleaning up cigarette butts, but Franke hopes that after this year, the city will be number one.
Over the next 12 days, there will be various activities as part of the 12 Days of Cleaning. These include the 20-minute London makeover and Earth Fest on April 22, and community-wide cleanup day and Seedy Saturday on April 23.
More information on how you can get involved with 12 Days of Cleaning is available on London’s website.
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