Friday, December 10, 2010

Cigarettes Are Litter Too!

So I've received lots of feedback about a tweet I posted on Wednesday about how I was behind a car at a red light and saw the driver throw a lit cigarette out the window. I went and picked it up, held it up to her window, and when she rolled the window down, I told her that she dropped something. To my surprise, she actually took the cigarette back. I said that she should put it in the ash tray in her car. She was talking on her cell phone for our entire exchange, but took time away from that conversation to engage me. She said something about how I don't look like the police. I told her that if I were a policeman, I would issue a $500 ticket for littering. She said something about me dropping out of FSU to join the police academy or something unintelligible. She also claimed that these cigarettes are biodegradable. Not sure I believe that one...I think it had a filter.

For the record, I don't have a problem with people smoking in their cars (if there are no children in said cars). I do have a problem with people littering. Cigarette butts are litter. Smoldering cancer sticks thrown out of windows can ignite other fuel and cause a fire.

I don't know why people think it's OK to litter with cigarette butts. It seems that even smokers would admonish my behavior if I threw my empty glass bottle by the side of the road. Or an empty energy gel package. Or what about a giant bag of fast-food packaging leftover after consuming greasy goodness? Or if I got a flat on my bike and left the old tube with the hole in it alongside the road. All of it is litter.

I'm not perfect. I have on occasion thrown stuff out of my car window. Sometimes it almost seems like you just about have to do it. However, I pick up way more than I throw down. If everyone had the same ratio of trash picked up to trash disposed as I did, the streets would be as clean as they are in Sweden.
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