Your City, Your Business: Anti-litter campaign differs from anti-smoking
It's been interesting to hear comments from community members since our organization recently unveiled a cigarette litter prevention campaign in Downtown Duluth. Many, have been very supportive, stating that the campaign is long overdue. After al...
It's been interesting to hear comments from community members since our organization recently unveiled a cigarette litter prevention campaign in Downtown Duluth. Many, have been very supportive, stating that the campaign is long overdue. After all, walk down any sidewalk or street in our busy commercial district and you'll find plenty of cigarette butts.
Others, however, have been critical, claiming there are more important things we should be doing with our time. If we really want to help eliminate the problem, they say, try providing some solutions. Well, that's exactly what we are planning to do.
We are fortunate that Downtown Duluth was one of approximately 50 communities across the country to be selected for this pilot litter prevention program. Thanks to the organization "Keep America Beautiful," we have a template to follow that has a proven track record, a record that has helped cut down on cigarette litter by as much as 46 percent. Yes, it included a requirement to conduct a "scan" of our test area -- which meant the Duluth Downtown Waterfront District Clean and Safe Team actually collected and counted the number of cigarette butts in a two block area of First Street (more than 1,200). This provides us with a benchmark to help determine in the coming months what type of impact our campaign has in changing the behavior of individuals.
Our next steps will include providing smokers with alternative locations to deposit their cigarettes. We are not conducting an anti-smoking campaign, rather, an anti-littering campaign.
In the coming weeks, our Clean and Safe Team members will be handing out pocket ashtrays provided by "Keep America Beautiful." While these small, secure ashtrays are apparently quite common in such countries as Australia and France, they are just catching on in areas of the United States. As a pilot project community, we will be provided with 1,000 free pocket ashtrays to distribute to adult smokers. In addition, we will be working with businesses along First Street to add ash receptacles near doorways and other transition points. We know, if you want to help keep a community clean, you have to provide options for individuals to dispose of their litter.
Finally, you will also see and hear more public service announcements in our community reminding people that cigarette butts are litter, too. And for those motorists, please use your ashtray, not the roadway.
This is perfect timing to be selected for this national pilot project. Within the past year, we have heard from many concerned citizens, business owners and property owners. They have been pleased with the work of our Clean and Safe Team, but have frequently asked what can be done about cleaning up cigarette butts. Now, we think we have a good answer. Let's all work together to show what community pride is all about.