Friday, October 12, 2007
Cleaner Water--CAN IT Work?
Several downtown stakeholders have reported the strange, cylindrical objects that appeared this week on the sidewalk outside the post office--since they are gun metal gray, some observers have been worried that these were some kind of terrorist device.
While these devices are indeed enlisted in battle, it's the battle for cleaner water, and the devices are being deployed by the City of Tacoma. Their purpose? To capture discarded cigarette butts. Littered cigarette butts create unsightly litter and can contaminate the ecosystem when washed off streets and sidewalks through the storm system and into local waterways. The program is titled "CAN IT: Keep your butts out of the bay."
From September through November, City crews will place approximately 20 new "butt cans" in strategic locations and will also work with businesses to add cigarette receptacles to areas where their employees or customers routinely smoke. The City will also be distributing educational materials and personal ashtrays to help promote proper disposal of used cigarette butts and keep the related toxins out of the local waterways. Sediment traps in the storm water system will be tested to see if the extra effort reduces levels of certain contaminants associated with cigarette butt litter.