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Littering refers to disposing of waste, debris or garbage in places that are not designated waste containers or waste management facilities. It can be small items such as food wrappers or large items such as mattresses. Littering is unsightly and can cause harm to residents, wildlife and the environment.
Legislation about littering can be found in:
- Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (EPEA)
EPEA does not allow any person to create litter on public land, on highways, on land owned by local authority, on water or ice, or on another person’s land (Sections 176 to 182).
- Municipal Government Act
Municipalities have the ability to write bylaws specific to nuisance under Section 7 of the Municipal Government Act. The municipality can create a bylaw and choose how best to enforce it, including fines. The fine for littering varies from municipality to municipality.
- Public Health Act
Section 8 and Section 9 of the General Nuisance and General Sanitation Regulation (AR 241/2003) under the Public Health Act has requirements related to the storage of waste and the waste management at event grounds.
- Public Lands Act
Section 54 of the Public Lands Act prohibits the accumulation of waste material, debris, refuse or garbage on public land.
What to do if you see litter
On public land
If the waste is on public land, contact Alberta‘s Public Land Abuse Hotline at 1-800-642-3800.
- Recreation on public land: Know before you go
Contains information for recreational users of public lands, including tips on keeping campsites and recreational areas clean.
On municipal property
If the waste is on municipal property, contact your local municipality. Most municipalities have litter bylaws. Each municipality is unique and their litter bylaw can include a process on how to make a complaint and various fines for offenders.
If safe to do so, and using proper protective equipment (example: gloves), collect the waste yourself to dispose of in an appropriate waste collection bin.
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