Thursday, October 02, 2008

Excellent Question

Chris Zurcher excerpts a New London Day story about a new Connecticut law that requires you to put used fishing line in the trash or else face a fine, and then he asks an excellent question (here, on his environmental headlines blog):

Cigarette butts belong in the trash too. When are we going to fine people for flicking their trash out the window? Flicking your cigarette butt out the window is like walking down to Long Island Sound and emptying your ashtray into the water because, eventually, that cig you've flicked out the window, will end up there by floating into a storm drain and into a river, which flows into the Sound.

Our tolerance for garbage on the streets astonishes me. Long-time readers might remember this post, from an appaling morning spent cleaning up other people's garbage in West Haven.



Anonymous Rick said...

Chris makes a very good point about cigarette butts. I've always had the impression that SOME smokers believe that the beach is the world's biggest ash tray.

Building on the point about fishing line, most fishing stations or bait & tackle shops do have recycling storage areas for monofilament line. This is a far better option than just throwing it in the trash, as it can reenter the environment from a landfill.

11:44 AM  
Blogger Sam said...

The problem is not with the cigarette butt but with the filter, as the paper and tobacco are organic. These are made from fiberglass or related chemicals that do not decompose very quickly. Not sure if cotton is still used or not - but aside from the heavy tar and nicotanic acid, would be organic if so.

I've never heard of monofilament fishing line using in recreational fishing being recycled, ever. The point is to dispose of it in a trash bin INSTEAD of throwing it into the sea, which used to be very common. Fish and marine mammals can become entangled in the line.

For you Down-Easters, recycling lobster trap and trawl line can be done because the industry deals in hundreds of tons of the stuff. Maine has a good program to pay lobstermen for old "poly" pot float lines so that new-generation sinking line can be used. This was a good idea to prevent whale entanglements, especially the endangered Right Whale.

I'm not saying that cigarettes are good (like are non-filtered OK?) and I'm not minimizing the effect of fishing line on marine mortality. But there are other "big fish to fry" such as plastic waste, nitrogen and phosphorus loading, leaking waste systems, invasive plants and animals, and global warming. -sam

12:00 AM  

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