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Community group needs help clearing Winnipeg streets of litter

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With the spring weather thawing out the city, Winnipeggers are noticing something being left behind by the disappearing snow.

"I am noticing especially cigarette butts, lots of coffee cups and beer cans in the ditch," said one person walking downtown.

"A lot of plastic bags, coffee cups, mostly," said another person.

While the litter-lined lanes might look unpleasant right now, it will only get worse.

Tom Ethans, the executive director of Take Pride Winnipeg, said there's still several times more garbage than you can see right now trapped in the snow.

He said the pandemic changed what kind of trash is being dumped, with PPE like masks becoming a common item, as well as where it's piling up.

"Because they are going to the parks and having picnics, because again, COVID, we found all the littering and recycling containers were overflowing, and the recycling containers were overflowing with non-recyclables," said Ethans.

Take Pride Winnipeg said it's already receiving lots of requests from schools and community groups wanting to help with the organization's yearly clean-up effort, but it needs more adult volunteers to help with a new program taking aim at the most common pieces of trash -- cigarettes.

"We are also looking for community groups that want to go out and pick up and collect cigarette butts, and then we are going to recycle them through a company called TerraCycle," explained Ethans. "So it's going to be a great project we are going to do."

Ethans expects Take Pride Winnipeg volunteers can collect more than a million butts.

"If every Manitoban went outside and picked up one piece of litter, that's over a million pieces of litter off the ground. So what's out there, let's get rid of it," added Ethans.

A message that resonates with people CTV News talked to.

"It's got to start somewhere, and it all starts with you," said another Winnipegger walking downtown. "You got to make the change. Stop throwing garbage out; stop putting it on the streets. There's always a garbage can that's not too far away."

Take Pride Winnipeg said there's still too much snow to conduct its yearly litter index, but it will be released in the coming months.

Anyone interested in volunteering with the organization can check out its website

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