Butt Out Responsibly
July 05, 2012
City launches cigarette litter enforcement blitz
The City of Edmonton is launching a cigarette litter enforcement blitz. Bylaw staff will regularly patrol downtown and other commercial areas with outdoor cigarette ashtrays, encouraging smokers to butt out responsibly instead of littering. Tossing a cigarette butts on the ground can result in a $250 fine.
Capital City Clean Up’s 2011 litter audit found that cigarette litter is the largest contributor to small litter in Edmonton.
“Cigarette butts tossed on the ground do not biodegrade, as many people believe. They can take anywhere from 1 to 12 years to break down,” said Don Belanger, Program Manager of Capital City Clean Up. “Improperly disposed of cigarette butts pollute our streets, sidewalks and green spaces. Not only does it give the impression that we don’t care about the cleanliness of our city, cigarette butts can be harmful to the environment and to wildlife.”
This year enforcement officers will be recognizing smokers who are appropriately disposing of their cigarette butts in ashtrays by providing those people with a complimentary coffee from program partner, Tim Hortons.
“Our goal with this blitz is to encourage smokers to think twice before tossing a cigarette butt on the ground and littering,” said Ryan Pleckaitis, Director of Complaints and Investigations. “Education and awareness are our first priority. We want to reinforce positive behaviour and recognize smokers who are making the effort to put their cigarette butts into ashtrays, where they belong.”
The enforcement blitz will last until the end of September 2012.
In 2009, outdoor cigarette ashtrays were introduced on Jasper and Whyte Avenues. Their success led to the expansion of the program to include 104 Street, Chinatown/Little Italy, Alberta Avenue, 124 Street, Stony Plain Road and along parts of 107 Avenue.
“The introduction of the outdoor cigarette ashtrays along 104 Street have made a huge difference and have improved the general tidiness in the area,” said Ed Fong, owner of deVine Wines and Spirits on 104 Street. “We are seeing more people using these ashtrays and we want to encourage that to continue.”
Another option for those smokers who are not near an outdoor ashtray is to carry a personal pocket ashtray with them. The ashtrays are available at City Hall and at some summer festivals.
For more information:
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In Edmonton: 311
Outside Edmonton: 780-442-5311