Friday, March 7, 2014

No Smoking in Parks

   I'm sure everyone has seen someone smoking a cigarette in front of a building, outdoor event or even a public park, then flick it carelessly on the ground when finished.  This action, may it be a unconscious force of habit or just a blatant disregard for the environment, has cost cities across the United States millions of dollars each year. You may be thinking millions of dollars to pick up cigarette butts, how is that money accounted for? A portion of that money pays for the time spent by the people who have to pick-up the butts like employees of parks, restaurants, local governments and volunteers. In addition to the astounding economic costs, there are environmental costs like the harm to wildlife. Cigarette butts contain cellulose acetate, a form of plastic, that has been found in the intestinal tracts of fish, birds and other marine organisms (Davis).  A possible solution to this cigarette litter problem would be the banning of smoking in public areas.     Several Maryland counties have already banned smoking in front of government buildings, work places and restaurants.  Recently a bill has been introduced before the Maryland General Assembly that would ban smoking on county park land.  According to Delegate Benjamin F. Kramer of  Montgomery one of the reasons why the assembly should approve this bill, is that it would “...help reduce litter and help reduce environmental damage tobacco trash can cause...”  I agree with the ban on smoking in park lands because  it would decrease the amount of litter and the amount of butts consumed by marine life.  It may seem as though  this ban is violating smokers rights; if they would have been considerate of the environment initially, a bill would not have been necessary.
--Jillen Vest

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