Metro looks to decrease cigarette litter in public areas - WKRN News 2

Metro looks to decrease cigarette litter in public areas

Posted: Updated: May 14, 2012 09:02 PM

Left behind by smokers, cigarette butts are becoming an increasing problem in downtown Nashville and the city is looking to change that.

Russell Payne is the Vice President of Operations for the Downtown Nashville Partnership.

He told Nashville's News 2, "It is a problem.  Of course, they're toxic.  They get into the water and [are] very unsightly and we would like downtown to be safe and attractive on a regular basis."

Every weekend, dozens if not hundreds of cigarette butts are left scattered on sidewalks and alleyways.

It's not only a cosmetic problem it also affects the environment.

Veronica Frazier, the Executive Director of the Metro Beautification and Environment Commission, explained, "Cigarette filters contain a plastic that simply does not bio degrade and it ends up in our waterway systems [and] ends up in our oceans."

She said many smokers don't consider tossing cigarette butts on the ground littering.

"It's simply a matter of behavior and there are people who would not throw fast food trash out.  They would throw a beverage can out, but they think nothing of tossing that cigarette butt out their car window," she said.

A recent survey found that 42% of smokers said they do not have ash receptacles at their work place.

That is a number downtown Nashville hopes to improve dramatically with the help of a $2,000 grant from Keep America Beautiful.

The grant will allow the city to install pocket ashtrays, receptacles and urns.

"I think everybody understands that litter isn't good for the downtown area and something that offers them a free way to take care of their problem would be very attractive," Payne said.

The new receptacles are expected to be in place in upcoming months.

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