Monday, July 24, 2006

Finally someone is actually doing something about it!

I came across this article a couple of months ago and it made me excited. Currently one of my biggest pet peeves, dislikes, whatever you want to call it is cigarette butts. Why can smokers just throw their butts out of their car windows or drop them on the ground when they are walking. IT IS LITTERING!! How can they get away with this? I find it to be absolutely ridiculous at how unconcerned many smokers are. Do they not realize how detrimental it is? You might be saying "Eric, cigarette butts are small, it doesn't really matter." It does matter. As the article clearly states, 32 BILLION butts were discarded improperly in 2005 in Australia ALONE! 32 billion of anything adds up and that is in one nation alone over the course of one year.

A couple things that irk me the most are
1-Butts on the ground outside of buildings. Almost all buildings have ashtrays by the doors or garbage cans. You are only a couple feet away, why can't you put it in the ashtray or snub it out and throw it away?
2-Finding butts in the wilderness. I do quite a bit of trail running and climbing and on every outing I find a mininum of 2 butts on the trail. I am currently keeping a tally of how many butts I find over the course of the summer.
3-Butts thrown out of cars. Most cars (especially older models) have ashtrays. Snub your cigarette when you are done and put it in the ashtray. Why is this so hard? Are you afraid it is going to make your car smell? Well it already smells. Then when you are at the gas station filling up your vehicle, grab the ashtray and dump it in the trash. You have two minutes to spare, chances are you are just looking around while waiting for the pump to stop.

So to this I propose a couple of solutions. First I provide solutions for smokers. They need to quit being lazy and throw their butts in the trash. If there isn't a can or ashtray you most likely have a pack you pulled the full cigarette from, snub the butt and put it back in there. If you aren't into that then get a pocket ashtray. If any of this seems too hard, THEN QUIT SMOKING! You know what, quit smoking anyway.

To the tobacco companies: Make the cigarette butts out of easily biodegradable materials so in case someone does litter, it has a better chance of not ruining the environment. Better yet, stop putting butts on cigarettes. What? Do they protect smokers from a harmful substance contained in the cigarette?

I like what Australia did and I would be curious how well a program like that would perform in the US. It could probably be a huge source of revenue for local governments. Someone should look in it.

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