How Toronto deals with its garbage is problematic. The City has been burying its waste in large landfill sites for the past 40 years. But while this garbage might be “out of sight, out of mind” for Toronto, it is leaving a troubling legacy. This long forgotten garbage is emitting millions of tonnes of greenhouse gases. In fact, emissions from Canadian landfills account for 24% of national methane emissions.

The worst part is that most people have no idea. That’s why we’re producing Toronto’s Dirty Little Secret: Exposing Toronto’s Garbage Problem. We hope this documentary will push Toronto to clean up its act and reduce – maybe even eliminate – greenhouse gases at these landfill sites. 

Click here for a short teaser video for this project and please consider donating today.

Toronto’s Dirty Little Secret – Exposing Toronto’s Garbage Problem

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Todd Harris
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Toronto’s Keele Valley landfill site (operational from 1983 to 2002) was the largest landfill in Canada and the third largest in all of North America.  Its replacement, Green Lane landfill site, 300 kms west of Toronto in St. Thomas, now receives all of Toronto’s residential garbage: 120 semitrailer trucks worth, daily. Commercial garbage, representing 65% of Toronto’s total waste, is hauled each day by another 150 plus semitrailer trucks to various Michigan landfill sites.

But while the Keele Valley site may be closed, its problematic legacy lives on. According to a recent Environment and Climate Change Canada report, the Keele Valley landfill emitted 7 million tons of CO2 from 2004-2019 – despite being closed for nearly 20 years by the end of this period. This is equivalent to over 3 billion litres of consumed gasoline.

To make matters worse, over 2.5 million tons of methane gas were emitted at Keele Valley landfill site during this same period. Methane is much more toxic and damaging to the environment than CO2. Clearly, no one ever cleaned up the garbage dumped at the Keele Valley landfill site, and it is emitting large amounts of harmful greenhouse gases on an ongoing basis, even to this day.

The aim of this project is to produce a documentary on how Toronto has long failed to manage its garbage in an effective and environmentally sustainable way – as well as to explore possible solutions to this problem. We are producing a documentary that advocates for the reduction, and if possible, elimination of greenhouse gases emitted at the Keele Valley and Green Lane landfill sites, as well as the thousands of other active and closed landfill sites across Ontario and Canada.

Finding economical and innovative solutions to reduce or eliminate greenhouse gas emissions from landfill sites should be a significant part of Canada’s overall commitment to reduce emissions between 40-50% of 2005 levels by 2030 and to attain net-zero emissions by 2050, as required in the Emissions Reductions Plan.

Canadian landfills are one of the major sources of greenhouse gases in Canada and account for 24% of national methane emissions. This documentary will use storytelling and scientific analysis as part of an overall strategy to help meet targets in greenhouse gas emission reductions in Canada, mitigate climate change, and guarantee a livable planet for future generations.

As found in the prologue of the television show Star Trek, a documentary is a trek, a journey of sorts, to unknown worlds, not always knowing where you will end up, and what you will find along the way. But you can help us get there.

 Your contribution, whatever it may be, will help make this happen.  Thank you!

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