23 March 2011

Environmental Pollution

Before I begin I must declare my self interest. I used to smoke! As a student I started smoking a pipe, because I wanted to be different and to stop my peers telling me I was a "party pooper" because I refused to smoke cigarettes. During my time as Editor of the College newspaper I once had to interview  the Rector, and when he said to me "Oh! You're the pipe smoker!" I knew my tactic had worked. However, I was always short of money for tobacco, but found it easier to cadge cigarettes off of the girls! So I came to smoking cigarettes as well. I was never truly addicted, for a couple of years later I just stopped, for a few years at least. Then when my mother sent me a pipe smoker's ash tray from New Zealand, I picked up my pipe again. Mainly for the image and not for much else, other than using it as a dummy substitute! I stupidly kept this up for 20 odd years until a girl friend asked me to grow a moustache. I soon discovered I had a certain stink under my nose from the tobacco smoke which I did not like so I stopped for good. I also shaved off the moustache, but that is another story. In 1989, after I had stopped, I had viral pneumonia and was hospitalised. Since then I have found I am allergic to all forms of tobacco smoke and ash. Now I am a rabid anti smoker.

Today as the sun was shining I took a walk through my town. People were out enjoying the sun.
But I was also aware of the rubbish left by the smoker. I could hardly walk three paces without coming across "fag ends," "dog ends" or cigarette butts as my America readers will know this type of litter. 
Germany prides itself at being an environmentally concious nation and a leader in environmental planning. Why then is it not possible for them to legislate against the smoker? The Federal Government has left it to the individual Lands to pass laws banning smoking in public places, yet no two Lands have managed to do it satisfactorily yet. These smokers not only pollute our atmosphere but litter the planet as well.
Smokers seem to have a perfect right to do as they please and throw their dog ends where they like.
Singapore is the only city I know in the world that has clean streets. You will not find chewing gum or fag ends littering their streets. So why can't we do it on ours. A shopping arcade is for me a public place, yet here in my town they seem to be allowed to smoke in them. This ash tray is situated in the middle of  one for example. 

Outside virtually every shop in the main shopping street, the Hindenburg Strasse you will find fag ends as customers are not allowed to smoke inside. The boundaries of Sinn Leffers are particularly bad.

Of course one can say that the wind plays its part in distributing this litter, which it does, but that is not an excuse I can accept for allowing smokers to drop their litter where they may. I found this quote on the web :
Considerate smokers don't litter. Those who do deserve criticism as much as any other litterer."
-- SmokingSection.Com (Militant Smoker's Rights Group)

Smokers will try and tell me that their fag ends are biodegradable! I am not sure this is true as the filter contains cellulose which is not so easily degradable and can take 12 years! That they can carry pocket ash trays has not occurred to them yet. Well I think it is time we brought it to everyone's attention that these things do exist.

To the residents of  my town I say it is time we put a stop to this pollution of our streets. If we can't do something as simple as this, how can we say we can control nuclear energy?

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