There are never many surprises at a committee meeting. So when I pulled out my camera and snapped a photo for this blog it broke the ice. The fact that my presentation led to political action was yet another surprise.
I already knew I wouldn’t have time to share everything I wanted the city councillors to know. With five minutes to speak, it didn’t help that 24 seconds had elapsed before someone told me to begin. I had three pages of notes. I didn’t make it past Page One, was just ready to dive into my best content when the red numbers said 5:00. But right up top I had asked them to do something to keep the issue going, tossing out the idea of a sub-committee or working group.
The thing about a committee is that after you speak you can answer questions, if any. Then you’re done. There were good questions for me, not as many as I had hoped. How I wished I could have helped the departmental manager with his answers and given him a briefing beforehand. On this side of the waste management equation, it was clear to me he’s not schooled in the research behind littering.
Two significant motions asking for more information about littering and tobacco litter control were introduced and approved. One, from Councillor Michael Layton, calls on staff to review a ban on butts - the kind you smoke - on beaches. He’s also toying with requiring bars and restaurants to install outdoor street ashtrays. (See my blog of 09/03/13, Little Restaurant Didn't Deserve This )
Councillor Shelley Carroll joined the discussion and spoke frankly about her former struggles as a littering smoker when habit and lack of an available ashtray dictated.
Councillor Janet Davis asked for a report on litter campaigns, education and awareness. This is something I can really get behind, obviously. It’s my field of expertise and it’s what I have wanted to see manifest for a long time.
My next goal is to have a hand in shaping whatever it is the City of Toronto officials decide to do because I know what works. They really don’t know. The tale will be told in the staff reports some months from now.
I can hardly wait. In the meantime, I’m offering a $50 award to the 2,013th person who signs and returns the 2013 Litter Not Pledge found on this website.