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Sound off: Help make the county cigarette butt free | Opinion

Help make the county cigarette butt free

April 22 is Earth Day and much of the world will use this day to focus on global climate change. In Howard County, let’s expand that goal.

While others are looking up, let’s also look at our feet, our streets, our parks and our sidewalks. Cigarette butts are the most commonly discarded waste in the world and they are not biodegradable. An estimated 1.69 billion pounds of cigarette butts become toxic waste each year, creating an enormous environmental, health and economic burden.

A recent study showed that cigarette waste easily meets standardized tests for city and state agencies to label a substance as toxic waste. This hazardous material can persist in the environment for 5-10 years and is often ingested by aquatic creatures, wildlife and pets, not to mention young children, who can suffer serious health problems as a result.

Howard County Youth Empowerment Group VOICE and Breathe Easy Howard County invite all members of the community to join us in collecting discarded cigarette butts. This will take place in Highland Park at the Big Ben exhibit at 9 a.m. on April 16. Gloves and collection bags will be provided to all.

The environmental impact of tobacco products is another reason to pursue comprehensive tobacco prevention and control efforts. Let’s work to help Howard County get rid of cigarette butt litter.

If you smoke, you can make the decision to do what is right for you, your family and the environment. Free help is available through 1.800.QUIT.NOW or Howard County Tobacco Free is here for your support. Find us on Facebook @BreathEasyHoCo Instagram @HCYCHOCO

Savanah Harrell and Alex Watkins, Co-Chairs of VOICE and Howard County Youth Council Substance Abuse

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