Wednesday, June 3, 2009
NO BUTTS: Cigarette Butt Litter, Fees and Campaigns
This Sacramento Bee article highlights San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom's newly proposed 33-cents-a-pack fee on cigarettes to pay for the cost of cleaning up butt litter. He moved on the matter after the city's annual "litter audit" found that cigarette butts make up a quarter of littered items in the city. Litter abatement costs are deep strain on public resources, especially at a time when cities and the state are in a financial squeeze. The 33-cent fee was proposed to raise $11 million to offset the cost of picking up the discarded cigarette butts, a vast amount of which end up in the ocean and San Francisco Bay.
Cigarette filters are designed to trap toxic chemicals. When submerged in water, the toxic chemicals trapped in the filter leak out into aquatic ecosystems, threatening the quality of the water and aquatic life. Studies indicate the chemicals in cigarettes are leaching into our water ways and are deadly to water fleas (a small but important microorganism that lives in most lakes, streams and the ocean). An important component of Surfrider Foundation's Hold On To Your Butt campaign is to stop the litter problem before it starts by educating the community on the harms of cigarette butt litter. For more information on cigarette butt litter, click here.