Sunday, June 7, 2015

Milan is not a trash can (revisited)

Milan is not a trash can. There, I've said it.

Some actions, such as throwing stuff away in trash cans, take such little effort, and yet yield such an enormous benefit, that why more people aren't civic-minded on such a basic level simply boggles my brain. Do you know how long it takes for your wad of gum, the cellophane wrapping of your cigarette pack, or your cigarette butt to degrade...if ever?...More......

Depending on the local conditions (exposed to the air and elements, or sealed away in a dry place?), your piece of gum may take around five years to degrade (all the while collecting filth, and turning a nasty ugly dirt black peppering sidewalks, walkways and pavements...and costing us all--that includes YOU--extra money just to clean it up that could have been spent better elsewhere), while the paper and tobacco of your cigarette butt may take up to about TEN YEARS to degrade--releasing their toxic chemicals into the environment all the while--while the filter and the cellophane wrapper, made up of a kind of plastic,...well, we all know how fast plastic degrades...maybe never, maybe in hundreds, or even thousands of years.

"It's only one piece of gum/cigarette butt," I hear you say. Maybe.

But how many times have you flicked a cigarette butt onto the street, or onto the railroad tracks, and how many smokers around you are doing the same thing?

This is not an anti-smoking campaign.

We're adults, and should be able to decide for ourselves in a way that doesn't impinge on others' health. (My non-smoking doesn't affect the smokers' air, but the smokers' smoke does affect my air. There's the rub, isn't it? If smokers had been politer, and had asked more often, I don't think the situation would have gotten as emotionally charged as it is, and, now that I live surrounded by more smokers than before, I've learned to "chill out" in the open air, but still would prefer to taste my food, not someone's smoke, in a restaurant. I think that's fair, though I'd like to add that I'm not happy that some of my health care-destined tax money is paying for consciously self-inflicted problems, such as smoking, exaggerated obesity, or high-risk sports, either...whew, now that's off my chest, too.)

It's not even a "Think Green" campaign. (Though there are some simple things we all can do to help, even if only a little.)

It's my anti-litter soap box. (No pun intended, but it's a good one.)

What to do if there's not a trash can around?

Keep the gum wrapper to wrap the gum in, and put in in a pocket, or purse, til you get to a trash can.

Put the cellophane wrap of your cigarette pack in your pocket, or purse. (It's SO HEAVY and SO AWKWARD a shape, I know, I know, but be a sport, and just do it.)

Put out the cigarette carefully, and put the butt in the cigarette tray of your car. In lieu of a nearby trash can, wrap it in a gum wrapper, or a "portable" ash tray (I swear, I just saw these on the internet, they're little foil-like pieces of paper). Put it in one of the chic little portable "old-fashioned" cigarette butt containers, no bigger than the palm of your hand.

Cityscapes that make us go "aaaaaahh," instead of "arrrrrgggh," are in our own hands.

Please be a good sport, and cooperate.

Want more info? Try these links for starters:

(Originally posted 25 August 2010, now that Expo is in full sway and the summer holidays are around the corner, it's a good idea to propose it, again...I think it's the first time that I've repeated a post.)

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