Friday, September 3, 2010

You can Swat-A-Litterbug

The NC Department of Transportation (NCDOT) has made it easy for citizens to report someone for littering from their vehicle, including cigarette butts. Click here to find a Swat-A-Litterbug report. All you need to do is turn in the license plate number, and where you saw the littering, and the offender will receive a formal notification letter in the mail. To see a copy of the letter, click here.

There are over 176,000,000 pounds of cigarette butts discarded every year and the numbers that end up on the street are hard to estimate. Blowing Rock Middle School students went out last week and picked up 487 cigarette butts on one block in town. Yuck! Those butts end up in our waterways, in animals stomachs, and even in bird nests which reduce hatching rates.

• One cigarette butt in two gallons of water will leak toxic chemicals within an hour of being exposed to the water.

• Discarding cigarette butts on streets, parking lots, walkways, lawns, and beaches is a violation of litter laws and has been proven to have a severe adverse impact on the environment - the water, air, and land.

•Cigarette filters are not made of cotton and they do not biodegrade. They are made of compressed fibers of cellulose acetate, a plastic, similar to photographic film. Each filter contains a bundle of 12,000 tiny fibers painted white with titanium dioxide, which can be likened to shoe polish.

• Our earth home is being used as an ashtray by over a billion smoking human beings. Silence lends consent.

Please, don't hesitate, help educate. You can also pick up Swat-A-Litterbug report cards in the front foyer of the Watauga County Cooperative Extension Service.

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