Thursday, December 17, 2009

$7.5 million to pick up cigarette butts?

I've seen this mentioned before in the Chronicle and the Examiner, that San Francisco spends $7.5 million a year to clean up cigarette butts. I find that hard to believe, since it sounds like hyperbolic anti-smoking propaganda. Today the Examiner (below in italics) cites as a source for the number a study by the Health Economics Consulting Group, but I can't find the study on their website:

City: Here’s an ashtray, now use it
Mike Aldax
Examiner Staff Writer

City officials not only want to limit
where smokers can light up in San Francisco, they’re also trying new ways to discourage them from chucking their cigarette butts on sidewalks and streets.

The Department of Public Works announced at a press conference today that it has partnered with a neighborhood group to test three types of public ashtray canisters, hoping to find a solution to the illegal dumping of butts.

The City spends $7.5 million annually to clean up illegally discarded cigarettes, a Health Economics Consulting Group study said.

The canisters were placed in the Mid-Polk Street neighborhood. One canister is affixed to city litter receptacles, another is affixed to participating businesses and a third will be placed at curbs alongside participating businesses, DPW said.

“Mid-Polk volunteers conducted cigarette litter counts before the canisters were placed and will continue to monitor and provide data to DPW to assess which model could work best in other commercial areas,” DPW said in a release.

Meanwhile, the agency announced the winners of its new Anti-Cigarette Litter Slogan Naming Contest. They were quite clever.

The winning slogan: “Don’t be an ash, put your butts in the trash.” Second and third place slogans: “No butts about it, keep our neighborhood clean” and “The butt stops here.”

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