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SUMPTER TOWNSHIP, Mich. — Trucks loaded with garbage from Canada’s most populated city have begun dumping their loads at a landfill in Michigan.

The first loads of Toronto trash arrived at the Carleton Farms dump Tuesday under a five-year contract between Toronto and Republic Services, which operates the landfill.

Under the terms of the contract, Toronto will ship at least 258,000 tonnes of trash to the landfill a year until 2003, when the minimum tonnage falls to 91,000 tonnes.

The pact with Republic is part of an effort by Toronto to divert garbage from the city’s Keele Valley Landfill, which is set to close at the end of 2002.

Each day, about 40 trucks carry the trash on its 360-km journey through Sarnia to Sumpter Township. The garbage is compacted in enclosed containers, which are put on a mechanical “tipper” that lifts them at an 80-degree angle to empty them.

Toronto also ships some 50 truckloads a day through Windsor to Onyx Arbor Hills, another Michigan landfill. About 408,000 tonnes will be shipped to Onyx Arbor Hills in 2001, Lawson Oates, manager of strategic planning for Toronto’s Solid Waste Management Services, said Thursday.

Toronto’s shipments to the Michigan landfills could double in 2003, after the city’s Keele landfill closes, Oates said. A coalition of U.S. environmentalists wants to put a stop to the importation of Canadian trash to Michigan.

Led by the Ann Arbor-based Ecology Centre, the coalition said the silence of state officials on the shipments amounts to tacit approval of the concept. State officials say though the shipments may be undesirable, they are permitted under federal trade laws and state law.

“Both the governments of Michigan and Toronto need to understand that the people of Michigan are not in favour of receiving out-of-state garbage,” Jeff Surfus, of No Waste and Clean Water Action, told the Monroe Evening News.

“We are going to do what is necessary to convince our government to take action and then we’ll see what happens in Toronto,” Surfus said.

Public pressure caused the collapse last year of a deal to ship Toronto’s waste to an abandoned open pit mine near the northern Ontario community of Kirkland Lake.

— Windsor Star

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