Smokers feel they can just throw their cigarette butts anywhere

Smokers continue to throw their cigarette butts everywhere. “There should be more places to throw these away,” said a smoker, and confessed also that she will occasionally flick away a butt if she carries it too far without seeing a dustbin.

Another smoker explained: “There are more important issues than cigarette butts”.

Cigarette butts

Over the last decade, City Hall has passed numerous legislations driving smokers farther away from main attractions and into alleyways and side streets, where ashtrays such as those formerly available in outdoor dining areas and patios are absent. Concerns about littering — and whose responsibility it is to combat that problem — remain unaddressed.

The number of butts that find their way onto the beach alone is the main evidence to the need for something more.

Jose Aguilar, Downtown maintenance crew leader, estimated that his team cleans up between 1 million and 1.5 million cigarette butts each year, mostly from side streets and alleyways. But unfortunately those numbers have decreased noticeably due to recent city ordinances, most violators are tourists.
Another issue is fire. Aguilar explained that a litter can catches fire in his district about once every two months.

One solution to the littering could be to install more bin containers. Currently, City Hall has installed no receptacles specifically for cigarette butts. Recycle Coordinator Wes Thompson of the Solid Waste Management Division said the issues of encouraging smoking close to the doors of businesses and who would empty and maintain the receptacles stalled discussion.

Jane Walker of Three Bags Full on Montana confirmed that smoking has decreased in the popular shopping district since the ordinance took effect.

“People can no longer just sit and smoke,” she said. Smoking was banned entirely on the promenade, Farmers’ Markets, the beach and public parks, and strictly limited on the pier. Violators of these laws, which took effect at different times within the last six years, can be charged up to $750.

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