Saturday, August 25, 2012

Keep your Butts off State Street, it’s not an Ashtray

For years there have been discussions, campaigns, clean up efforts and even threats of fines towards the ongoing problem of people throwing their cigarette butts on to the sidewalks and streets.  Know this: MEDIA IS NOT AN ASHTRAY.  In fact a similar statement was written in chalk outside Sligo’s and Stephen’s on State Street a few weeks ago during an event.  It said:  “The sidewalk is not your ashtray!”  I didn’t get a picture of it, but it provided a clever message about an issue that really does draw away from an otherwise pleasant State Street experience.  To those who wrote it, keep it up!

Businesses have been tasked with cleaning up their own outside areas, but some do a better job than others.  Part of the problem is that the butts get lodged between the bricks and are not easy to remove.  This can in turn lead to people thinking it’s okay to discard their butts on the ground. Interesting statistic from the 2010 Keep America Beautiful survey found that people are more likely to litter when they see a littered environment.  

This isn’t a new problem unique to Media, but a issue that many cities and towns deal with. Recommendations that came from the litter study include:
  • Increasing availability of ash receptacles and portable ashtrays.
  • Clean-up activities
  • Educating the public
  • Motivating and messaging individuals of personal responsibility.

As for clean up activities, I do want to recognize the efforts of Media Business Authority, Executive Director, Zubair Khan who along with a friend spend over 3 hours cleaning up cigarette butts last Saturday morning.  As appreciative Media is for him doing that, that’s not the expectation of a viable solution to this problem.  People need to be more proactive against littering when smoking.

Lastly, what’s almost just as bad is the discarded chewing gum on State Street’s sidewalks.  The sidewalks look awful with what looks like years of accumulating gum.  It’s so bad, you can’t find a concrete pad with out multiple gum spots.  With the success of Dining Under the Stars, I would hope this town works towards cleaning this mess up with a professional company that handles these types of issues.  In fact, a routine, frequent power washing of State Street wouldn’t be a bad idea either.


  1. Well said, Ted!

    Businesses should install adequate receptacles for the trash and next time restaurants/bars print new menus, consider adding a statement asking customers to keep Media clean and dispose their butts in those receptacles.

    Businesses should also be held accountable for cleaning up the mess of butts that don't make it into receptacles.

    I don't know if any amount of educational efforts would change people's ways. It's gotten to the point where if I see a smoker actually USE a receptacle, I want to thank them.

    Worst example I have ever seen though is an actual business owner standing outside his business (not a bar, restaurant, or salon) smoking then tossing his butts on the street corner. Huge accumulation in only a few days. Right in front of his own business.

    On the other end of the spectrum, Zubair. Well done Zubair!

  2. You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink it; you can put a hundred cigarette receptacles out and people will still litter the streets. People are rude and just don't care.

    1. I was sitting in my car in front of Apollo pizza and a employee or owner was out smoking. The front was filled with butts and he dropped his. Then he had the nerve to spit right in front of the door. I will have a hard time going in there again. Real men don't spit!!!

    2. I totally agree. The pizza is ok, but their staff is horrible. They are loud, rude, they curse. To top it off, the smoking and the cursing outside is a huge turn off. I've gone to other places for pizza now. Apollo used to be the best, but now the pizza is mediocre and there now 5 different options other than Apollo. Get with it Apollo.

  3. I am unfortunately a smoker, and I completely agree! I have noticed a lack of ashtrays near trolley stops.

    As far as litter and trash goes, it seems the residents just throw their trash on the curbs in bags, and the critters rip them up, then trash blows everywhere. I am constantly picking up litter on the west end. :-(

  4. Ever since indoor smoking has been banned it's hard to walk down the sidewalk without smelling somebody's smoke, especially in Center City. In regards to the littering of butts, maybe they could start doling out fines.

  5. If only that one councilman kept that litter task force alive...


  6. How about all the black spots on the sidewalks all over Media and
    the court house from chewing gum. That is there to stay and it looks