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Three tonnes of litter in three days to 'keep Port Coquitlam beautiful'

Port Coquitlam's first-ever litter blitz included properly cleaning 14 illegal dumping sites — but now, it's the public's turn to pick up the trash.

Turns out, there was more trash and vandalism lingering around Port Coquitlam than meets the eye.

The city recently completed a three-day blitz that saw crews clean and collect three tonnes of litter across the community, equating to 6,000 pounds of trash in almost 80 full garbage bags.

Between Monday and Wednesday (July 10–12), 122 graffiti tags were removed, as well as thousands of discarded cigarette butts, by parks, solid waste and streets department staff.

Additionally, 86 km of streets were cleaned with sweepers, including those downtown, and on the northern and southern sides.

But, arguably, the most eyebrow-raising figure: PoCo said workers found 14 illegal dumping sites — all promptly cleaned — that consisted of metal filing cabinets, lawn chairs, construction waste — and even a couch.

The inaugural campaign was meant to act on the city's commitment to delivering core services, "exactly what residents and businesses pay property taxes for," said Mayor Brad West.

It also uncovered a dire need for local residents' support for keeping their neighbourhoods and parks clean for everyone's benefit.

"We'll continue working hard to keep Port Coquitlam beautiful. We hope you can do your part too," reads a City of Port Coquitlam statement on social media following the blitz. 

"Properly dispose of your trash and maybe even pick up a piece of litter if you can."

Dozens of permanent and casual workers spent up to 12 hours per day in each clean-up zone as no extra cost to taxpayers.

They were seen along major arterial roads, trails and in local parks with pickers and buckets.

West and city staff are hoping local residents that witnessed the blitz can be encouraged to safely pick up and dispose any litter they see, or join a volunteer group dedicated to the task.

"When we see litter in a park or along a roadside, we should consider doing our part to help keep our community clean," West said in an earlier release.

The litter blitz followed a successful pothole repair initiative that saw city works crews fill more than 160 of the nuisance road issues in late April.

In the meantime, residents and visitors can report areas of concern on the City of Port Coquitlam's website, through the PoCo Sort and Report app or by calling 604-927-3111.

- with files from Diane Strandberg, Tri-City News