Can the electronic cigarette help to tackle the problem of urban litter?
What’s the one over-riding thing that non-smokers hate about cigarettes? Now obviously most could probably name a long list of things they truly dislike like the acrid smell, the pollution and having to sit next to someone who smells like an ash tray. However, it seems that what really rankles non-smokers more than anything else is abandoned cigarette stubs: in other words it’s the mess that smokers leave behind once they’ve had their daily fix. Well, the authorities it now appears are determined to do something about it, as discarded cigarette butts are beginning to become a real problem.
Some local authorities have been clamping down on those who leave litter and have been giving these miscreants on-the-spot fines. The fines are meant to deter future indiscretions, and have proved to be quite a success judging by the statistics released by the authorities. The City of London made its own concerted effort last summer to stamp out littering and the thoughtless disposal of used cigarette butts and packets. It sent a team of officers out on to the streets and issued on-the-spot fines to anyone caught carelessly disposing of used cigarettes. In spite of the success of the project, the initiative was scrapped after only a few weeks when funds ran out. However, subsequent campaigns have been successfully run in both Liverpool and Manchester, and it appears that many major towns and cities are considering campaigns of their own.
Dropping any form of litter is both anti-social and selfishly irresponsible. What littering is effectively saying is that we’re either too busy or can’t be bothered to find a bin for our rubbish, so we’ll simply throw it on the ground and expect somebody else to dispose of it. That’s bad enough in itself, but the particular problem with cigarette stubs is that they’re not biodegradable. Unless someone picks them up they will just sit there indefinitely. Environmental campaigners now believe that the harmful residual chemicals that remain in cigarette butts will eventually be washed down into river and water courses, and could potential present a significant threat to our wildlife and fish.
So what’s the answer to the problem of littering particularly with regard to discarded cigarette stubs? Well, the obvious answer is that if you do smoke, then stop if at all possible as it is better for your health. If you can’t stop, then make sure you dispose of your used cigarette stubs responsibly and don’t throw them on the ground. There is, however, one other alternative for those who smoke, and that’s to use an electronic cigarette. Electronic cigarettes don’t produce the same amount of waste as traditional cigarettes and are unlikely to be thrown away casually. The good news is, if you choose to use smokeless cigarettes, you’ll not only be protecting your health but you could potentially be safeguarding the environment.
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