Friday, July 28, 2006
Where there's smoke, there's cigarette butts
We just got this question from a reader about the Pikes Peak Highway: "I was up on the highway yesterday, and was quite disturbed by the number of cigarette butts I picked up, both at Glen Cove and the summit. I also picked up enough litter to fill a kitchen trash bag out the brush just off the Glen Cove parking lot. What is the highway authority's responsibility for this?"
Three answers: First, the city maintains the private toll road up to the summit, so in some regards, any trash left by users is its responsibility. On the other hand, the road passes through the Pike National Forest, so one might be able to argue that dropped butts in the forest are a federal responsibility. But since neither entity really has the manpower to handle annoyances like this, the truth is that it's our responsibility. If we want clean forests, we have to keep them clean, even if we didn't put the trash there.
I don't know why smokers feel they can toss their butts out of their cars, or on sidewalks, or in the woods, but I also think the fruitless effort to convince them not to do it could be better spent picking the butts up. I find it's particularly effective to wordlessly pick up a butt in front of the person who just threw it.
Posted by Dave Philipps at 2:13 PM