Trash takes its toll

 
Published: Wednesday 31 July 2002

Mounds of trash infested with flies have become a common sight on the streets of Toronto recently, thanks to a strike by the city's garbage collectors. Nearly 7,000 workers walked off the job, demanding reasonable deals on wages, job security and benefits from the local politicians. The strike gave rise to concerns about diseases that might hit the city's two million people.

Considering the magnitude of the problem, Toronto mayor Mel Lastman pleaded with the residents: "Please don't leave garbage on the street if it's not being picked up by private contractors. Find a way to deal with it while we try and find a solution to the strike."

The agitation posed a risk to Toronto's image as it hosts high-profile summer events. Organisers of Toronto's biggest parade in North America said they were finding private trash collectors to ensure that the celebrations do not slide under layers of garbage.

The strike also forced the cancellation of some Canada Day holiday events, including fireworks displays and a street festival.

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