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April 22, 2004
For immediate release

Environment Minister Highlights Litter Prevention on Earth Day

Environment & Energy

With most of the snow melted away, one of the uglier signs of spring once again abounds on Island roadsides evidence of months of littering.

Recognizing Earth Day today in the Provincial Legislature, Minister of Environment and Energy Jamie Ballem took the opportunity to highlight concerns about litter and the volunteer efforts of the many Islanders who work to prevent and clean up litter.

"Earth Day celebrates how small actions can add up to make a big difference in communities and we certainly see this when it comes to litter. For 30 years, the Women's Institute has led the way in keeping PEI clean and beautiful through its annual roadside cleanup. Many Islanders clean streets or roadsides in their communities some on a daily basis, and groups from Rotary to 4-H clubs have signed up for the Adopt-A-Highway Program coordinated by the Department of Transportation and Public Works," said Minister Ballem.

"I want to take this opportunity to commend all of these people, but also to highlight the fact that if everyone did his or her part by simply not littering, all of the effort that goes into cleaning up litter could be redirected to other projects to benefit the Island environment."

Minister Ballem said statistics clearly show that much more needs to be done to prevent littering. In the Roadside Litter Survey Report 2003, an average of 162 items were collected in the 100-metre stretches of roadway.

Cigarette butts and food containers from takeout service are the most common litter items on Prince Edward Island roadsides. The 2003 survey showed 30 per cent of the litter collected consisted of food containers. Within that category, cups were the most common item, accounting for 12 per cent of roadside litter, while cup lids made up nine per cent. Another nine per cent of litter consisted of confectionary items chip bags, gum packaging, and bar and other candy wrappers. Beverage containers, including cans, plastic and glass bottles and cartons, accounted for close to eight per cent of roadside litter. Seven per cent of items collected consisted of other containers such as cigarette packs and plastic bags. The survey included data on cigarette butts at three sites with results showing 383, 681, and 320 butts collected. Looking at those three sites only, cigarette butts accounted for 71 per cent of roadside litter.

The annual roadside litter survey is conducted by the Southeast Environmental Association as part of the provincial litter awareness campaign. A joint effort of provincial government departments and agencies, industry sectors, and other interested groups, the campaign encourages Islanders and visitors to "Keep the Island clean. Put litter in its place." Several Island businesses are also helping spread the message that littering is unacceptable. For example, Purity Dairy and the City of Charlottetown continue to be a strong supporters of the campaign, and Superior Sanitation is helping raise awareness of the issue by displaying the campaign logo on its trucks.

The Provincial Litter Awareness Committee has a variety of materials available on litter prevention including fact sheets, pledge cards, posters, bookmarks and car litter bags. Committee members are also available to speak at meetings. For further information, or to report an incident of littering, call the litter hotline at 1-866-368-5024.

Litter Prevention Tips:

There are many ways individuals, businesses, community groups and schools can help prevent littering in Prince Edward Island.

- Never, under any circumstances, litter. If you are going fishing, to the beach or on another outing, take a bag or knapsack with you to carry your trash back home.

- Let others know that littering is unacceptable.

- Report littering offences to the toll free litter hotline, 1-866-368-5024.

- Securely cover trash containers and dumpsters to prevent wind or animals from spreading litter.

- If you are transporting materials in the back of your truck or in a trailer, cover and secure it so that nothing blows off.

- Practise waste reduction: use a travel mug for your morning coffee, take cloth bags or plastic bins when you go shopping, and pack your lunch in reusable containers. Reducing the volume of waste generated each day reduces the potential for items to end up as litter.

Media Contact: Sandra Lambe
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