By: Sharon Aron Baron
Sometimes when I’m sitting in traffic behind a smoker I play a game: I see if they will throw their cigarette butt out of the window or in their ashtray. I always bet the window.
I never lose.
These same people, who would never so much as throw a fast food container out of their cars, are littering our streets with thousands of cigarette butts each year. For instance, if a smoker threw just three cigarettes a day out their window, that would add up to 1,095 cigarette butts littering our streets.
Many smokers don’t want to dirty up their cars by using their ashtrays, that is, if they even have one. Many car manufacturers don’t even have standard ashtrays in them any more. This is the excuse that these butt-heads love to give for littering because cars companies sell “smokers packages” that turn a cupholder into an ashtray, however, smokers don’t want to dirty up their new car, choosing to dirty up our streets instead.
Florida litter laws say that any person who dumps litter weighing under 15 pounds is guilty of a noncriminal infraction punishable by a civil penalty of $100, from which $50 is deposited in the Solid Waste Management Trust Fund. In addition, the court may require the violator to pick up litter or perform other labor commensurate with the offense committed.
In truth, the Coral Springs police are not going to enforce this because they don’t have the budget or the manpower to write tickets for these types of small infractions.
A public awareness campaign needs to be created to stop these litterbugs. Maybe residents should have bumperstickers that say. “Smokers: Don’t be a butt-head. Keep Coral Springs streets clean.”