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"Awareness can help end cigarette littering"
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"Awareness can help end cigarette littering"

Harnoor Gill picEnvironmental protection can start with a campaign against littering, writes Harnoor Gill, 17, a Commonwealth Correspondent from Georgetown in Canada, who targets the problem of cigarettes butts.

“There aren’t many things that are universally cool, and it’s cool not to litter. I’d never do it.” – Matthew McConaughey.

Matthew McConaughey is an American actor who has inspired others to campaign about stopping the act of tossing litter on to the ground. I have personally been inspired to write about the act of littering by throwing cigarettes on the ground because of how it’s not “cool” to litter anything on the ground in the first place. I believe that littering with cigarettes butts can be stopped through many outgoing initiatives. It affects the environment around us and people should raise concerns about this in their local communities. This is a growing problem in our society, and it’s time to stop!

Many initiatives to do with the act of cigarette littering can be accomplished in a simple and instant way. One way to accomplish this would be to be a part of a local shoreline clean-up at the beach that is close to you, or any large body of water. There is a general misconception in the smoking society that cigarette butts are biodegradable, when they actuallly are not. The acetate (plastic) built inside of a cigarette is the reason that the butts are in fact not biodegradable.[i]

This is one of the biggest reasons that there are so many cigarette butts accumulated on the ground around such buildings as the local library, school buildings and store entrances, residential or manufacturing places as well. It is the reason there needs to be more initiative shown to the public in order for them to notice how cigarettes essentially do have a lasting negative impact on the environment.

When cigarettes get flicked anywhere on to the ground or casually onto the street, beach or even a natural trail, the biodiversity of life in the area can be drastically affected. Birds, snakes or even frogs accidentally swallowing this deformed acetate into their bodies results in the worsening of the natural life of animals around us. These toxic chemicals that leak out of cigarettes are extremely dangerous as they can seep into our lakes, oceans and reservoirs. The built-up chemical residue in our water sources can harm the wildlife in the area as well as creating more chemical pollutants in the water. So, if you know of someone that doesn’t dispose of their cigarettes properly, get them to hop on over to this link for further info regarding this ongoing problem: http://www.cigarettelitter.org/index.asp?PageName=Home.

Raising concerns about the ridiculous act of littering with cigarettes may sound tough, but is easier once you know what to do. Many smokers say that there are not ashtrays available to throw out their butts but you can still squish the butt, bend down and then pick it up to dispose of it properly at later time. If you can’t find an ash tray, then safely put the butt in a suitable small bag and place it in an ash tray when you get some time. With these ideas you should successfully be able to raise your concerns on this issue and get some positive feedback from your community. Last but not least you can achieve a goal of raising awareness about an issue that many people around you appear not to care about.

So, just let those folks know to not forget to pick those “butts” up!

[i] http://www.cigarettelitter.org/index.asp?PageName=Facts

photo credit: Aidan Whiteley via photopin cc
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About me: I am a student in Georgetown, Canada, and founder of the Peace Welcome Club. I love to volunteer, read, write, and play basketball. I volunteer with local environmental and youth organizations and am dedicated to raising awareness about youth volunteering. My writing has been published in Indo-Canadian Voice, Asian Journal, Times of India, The Independent & Free Press, and in Amazing Kids! Magazine.

https://www.facebook.com/PeaceWelcomeClub

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response.
To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/

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