Consider this: an estimated several trillion cigarette butts are littered worldwide every year, according to cigarettelitter.org.
The website also states that cigarettes are the most-littered item in the world. Cigarette filters can take decades to degrade, and their toxic residue is damaging to the environment. Littered butts also cause numerous fires every year. So I guess cigarettes can be hazardous to your life in more ways than one.
I know everyone has strong feelings about smoking or not smoking, but I can’t get into that discussion. Smoking is a personal choice and as long as someone’s smoke or litter does not impose on everyone else’s space, then a smoker of adult age has the right to make that choice. Although I will say that I no longer have any living relatives who smoke, I do have friends and co-workers who do. I respect their choices to do so.
We just need to expect those who do smoke to follow some basic ground rules for disposing of cigarette litter. And when I say ground rules, I am saying do not use the ground as a trash can!
The 10 Commandments for Cigarette Litter
I. Thou shalt not toss thy used cigarette butt on the ground.
II. Thou shalt not flick thy cigarette butt out the car window as thou drivest down the road.
III. Thou shalt not throw thy empty cigarette package on the ground, either.
IV. Thou shalt never use other venues, like toilets and sinks, to dispose of thy cigarette butts, either.
V. Thou shalt not empty thy car ashtray on the ground when thou art at corners and red lights.
VI. Thou shalt never, never toss thy cigarette litter in a storm drain or a creek, lake, river or ocean!
VII. Thou shalt make sure that, if thou art a business owner or manager, there are adequate cigarette receptacles in designated smoking areas and at transition points around thy business, like doors and parking lots.
VIII. Thou shalt make sure that if thou art a local city or county government thou hast adequate cigarette receptacles in public locations, like parks.
IX. Thou shalt dispose of thy cigarette litter in a cigarette litter receptacle — not in parking lots, on sidewalks, down storm drains or in business doorways.
X. Thou shalt always carry a pocket ashtray and keep a car ashtray to use when thou art on the run. These are available free by contacting Keep Liberty Beautiful at 880-4888 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Swida is director of Keep Liberty Beautiful. Editor’s note: This is reprinted from previous columns.