Vancouver man wants the city to install more ashtrays
"The world is not your ashtray," says John Merzetti to smokers who litter cigarette butts
A Vancouver resident is tired of cigarette butts staining the streets of Vancouver and he wants the city to install more ashtrays so people have a place to butt out.
"The world is not your ashtray," said John Merzetti, who lives in the West End, "people have the right to smoke, it's just the irresponsible smokers."
But Vancouver Coastal Health says research doesn't support that smokers use ashtrays, regardless of their abundance or proximity.
"Helping people to quit smoking is the best way to reduce litter," she said, "having fewer smokers means having fewer litter."
Dawar says only 10 per cent of adults smoke in the area where Vancouver Coastal Health provides coverage, yet cigarette butts are the most consistently littered item.
In 2013, the city launched a pilot project to recycle cigarette butts.
It installed 100 receptacles in November 2013. But in early spring 2014, city staff along with Vancouver Coastal Health found that a number of the receptacles needed to be relocated to discourage unintended smoking areas and promotion of smoking.
"If you have an ashtray right by street furniture, it absolutely does [promote smoking]," said Dawar.
The city plans to remove 24 of the receptacles and relocate 44 of the TerraCycle receptacles, which were purchased at a cost of $12,000.
The City of Vancouver says it is looking at rolling out a different program by next year.
"It's a balancing act for us," said Albert Shamess, director of waste management and resource recovery at the City of Vancouver.
"We are trying to collect litter and not promote anything derogatory to health," he said.
"My goal is to get cigarette butt dispensers in locations that are not an issue to Vancouver Coastal Health that provide opportunity for us to collect cigarette butts in areas that are most prevalent," said Shamess.
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