Friday, June 21, 2024

Hefty fines proposed for leaving cigarette butts in street

A Mexico City lawmaker has proposed hefty fines for leaving cigarette butts in the streets.

Green Party coordinator Alessandra Rojo de la Vega proposed a change to the Solid Wastes Law to punish the act with fines ranging from 2,534 to 25,347 pesos (US $128-$1,282).

She also stated that it would be the responsibility of businesses and government offices to provide containers for the disposal of cigarette butts. Not doing so could mean fines ranging from 42,245 to 168,980 pesos.

“I think it’s time we got this problem under control,” said Rojo. “The impact has already begun to be felt, but if we don’t do anything now, in a few years we surely will regret it.”

Around five billion cigarette butts are produced in Mexico each year, and only 41% of them make it into an ashtray or trash can, she said. The remaining 59%, some 2.95 billion butts, end up tossed into the streets and elsewhere.

The legislator said cigarette butts account for 25% of trash on beaches, and that more than half the country’s forest fires are started by carelessly tossed butts.

However, statistics published by the National Forest Commission (Conafor) attribute only 6% of wildfires to discarded cigarette butts. Furthermore, Lilia Manzo, the head of the Institute of Geography at the National Autonomous University, told Mexico News Daily that, while highly probable, she has seen no official scientific evidence that cigarette butts start forest fires.

In 2008, Mexico City passed the Law of Protection for Non-Smokers, which converted all closed public spaces, such as government buildings and bars, cafés, and restaurants, into 100% tobacco-free zones.

Sources: Milenio (sp)

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