Toronto Transit Removes Subway Garbage Cans to Protect Against Terror Strike

TORONTO -- Roughly 1,600 garbage cans and 400 recycling bins are being removed from Toronto subway platforms to protect against possible terror strikes at Canada's most-travelled public transit system.

''In the grand scheme of things it's a small thing, but you can't be too cautious,'' said Toronto Transit Commission chairman Howard Moscoe.

Toronto joins a growing list of cities around the world that are removing trash cans as a way to defend against terrorism.

London has long banned garbage cans from its subway, a response to IRA attacks in the 1980s. Seoul just announced a similar measure, joining Washington, D.C., and San Francisco.

''The trigger for the whole thing is (the terror threat),'' TTC operations manager Gary Webster said Tuesday.

A staff report to be debated by TTC commissioners Wednesday recommends replacing the bins with 375 waste containers with stainless steel frames that hold clear plastic bags.

They would be located away from subway platforms, but remain at the entrances and exits and on the mezzanine levels of stations. The $277,000 program will help combat ''the threat of terrorism to our subway system,'' the report reads.

According to one security expert, terrorists find trash-can bombs ''a very cost-effective use of resources.''

They can be detonated by remote control, don't require suicide bombers, can be easily concealed, and offer a variety of locations from gas stations, to subways to crowded malls, said David Forbes, president of security firm BoydForbes Inc.

Security experts recommend that unnecessary trash containers be removed from use while those remaining be located in prominent, well-lit areas within view of cameras and away from sources of secondary fragmentation such as windows, mirrors or overhead glass.

(c)The Associated Press