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The leaves have got to leave: Montreal workers tackling 18,000 tons of cleanup

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Five-hundred City of Montreal workers are on fall cleanup duty, removing leaves that were radiant just weeks ago, but are now littering the streets.

"It's important to grab those leaves from the street," says city spokesperson Philippe Sabourin. "Otherwise, it could become slippery, and the leaves could also obstruct the sewer."

According to Sabourin, the falling leaf season starts later than usual due to rising temperatures. That's a problem, because, ideally, the leaves would all be gone before the first significant snowfall.

Leaf-clearing crews are now racing against the clock, but they say they're often slowed down by citizens who put the leaves from their lawns on the street.

"Sometimes we're passing on the street and just behind us they're putting the leaves," notes Francois Paquet with the Rivière-des-Prairies-Pointe-aux-Trembles borough.

The city is asking citizens to keep their own leaves on their lawns and use them as mulch to nourish the soil.

Sabourin says that would allow workers to complete their jobs quicker and save fuel costs by requiring trucks to make fewer trips to the eco-centre.

"We want to concentrate our efforts on the cleaning and the maintenance of the streets, and citizens will help the city by keeping their leaves on their yard."

The city says that if you do want to get rid of your leaves, put them in paper bags -- plastic ones are banned in all but four boroughs -- and bring them to the curb on the days the city collects organic waste.

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