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Cigarette butts a major litter problem

June 30, 2012
The Leader Herald

An important environmental issue was addressed by Wendy Koch in a front-page article in "USA Today" on June 19. Its headline reads "Recycling Programs Tackle Problem of Cigarette Butts" and its first line identifies cigarette butts as "the nation's top litter problem." The article cites a 2009 study for Keep America Beautiful, showing tobacco products make up 37.7 percent of highway litter, based on pieces per mile of roadway. Paper and plastic combined account for only a few more percentage points (41.2 percent) and the remaining 21.1 percent is composed of metal, glass, organic material, construction debris, vehicle debris and other. Ms. Koch points out, "Contrary to what many smokers may think, cigarette filters are not biodegradable. They are made with a plastic that can leach their toxic chemicals into the environment." Project Action Tobacco-Free Coalition and its members have been expressing similar concerns for some time now, advocating the use of tobacco-free outdoor areas to protect children and adults, as well as the environment.



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