Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Part of my day job deals with traffic tickets. Yesterday an interesting one passed my desk.. Littering. A 1500 dollar ticket for flicking a cigarette butt onto the ground at a truck stop. The guy who got the ticket is livid and spent a good 10 minutes shouting at me because I expect him to pay it and pay it promptly. If not, he will be out of a job.

When he calmed down he apologized, he really is normally a good guy. He asked what I thought about the ticket and I had to be honest.. I think it’s great. I think it’s about damn time we started enforcing litter laws. Cigarette buts are trash, they are poison, they smell bad and why should I or you, our children, our pets and our wildlife have to deal with someone elses dirty stinking habit?

It is estimated that several trillion cigarette butts are littered worldwide every year. That's billions of cigarettes flicked, one at a time, on our sidewalks, beaches, nature trails, gardens, and other public places every single day. In fact, cigarettes are the most littered item in America and the world. Cigarette filters are made of cellulose acetate tow, NOT COTTON, and they can take decades to degrade. Not only does cigarette litter ruin even the most picturesque setting, but the toxic residue in cigarette filters is damaging to the environment, and littered butts cause numerous fires every year, some of them fatal.

This has been an on going problem in Holyoke and everywhere. Next time you see someone flick a butt.. walk over and say.. “Oh look, you dropped something” And point it out. Just.. you know.. try not to get shot.


Jeffrey Byrnes said...

I totally agree with what you say. Not only is smoking gross, but it is such a terrible habit to throw them every where. It makes things look horrible. When I was a student at HCC, students would smoke on campus between the buildings. Walking from building to building you received smoke in your face. That is horribly gross! There are laws in MA about smoking within a certain distance. They never enforced them there like they should have. Clean air and a clean campus would have been nice.

More tickets should be handed out. There is no reason people cant put them out and throw them out. Like "Click it or ticket" there should be a slogan, Put them out and throw them out. Promoting a cleaner enviornment.


Anonymous said...

I am dying to know whether this was a ticket issued in Holyoke. I assume not, since I don't know of any truck stops here. Can you divulge the locality of the offense? Chicopee?

Just curious as to who's handing out littering tickets. It's awesome.

Reducing in HM said...

Thats a great idea Jeff and if you google info on cigarette little many countries already have some great slogans and ads out there.

Sadly the ticket was not in Holyoke.. it wasn't even in Mass. It happened in Connecticut. But it's still noteworthy!

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