I'm a bad citizen, environment-wise, in that I don't really give a shit about my carbon footprint or whatever. I leave everything plugged in and crank the A/C as soon as the mercury passes 50; if I cared, I'd justify it by noting that I live in New York and use public transportation, but I don't care, so I don't bother, because by the time global warming's gonna be a major problem for those of us in the first world I'll be dead, an assumption which probably holds true even if global warming becomes a major problem for those of us in the first world next year or so.
That said, I feel kinda bad about all the cigarette butts I flick into the street, but what am I supposed to do? I mean, put an ashtray on every corner and I'd happily play my part, but until then I've got no other options. An article in today's Times reveals that I'm not alone: most smokers are remorseful about it. Even Big Tobacco, which never feels guilty about anything, is concerned.
Cigarette companies acknowledge the problem. The Cigarette Litter Prevention Program, created by the nonprofit group Keep America Beautiful, is financed by Philip Morris, the cigarette giant. The prevention program's statistics show that butts constitute 28 percent to 33 percent of all litter nationwide – measured by item number, not volume. Similarly, the nonprofit Ocean Conservancy, which also receives money from Philip Morris, has found that butts account for 28 percent of littered items washing up on beaches worldwide.
The manufacturers say they are working on making their product more environmentally friendly. Frank Lester, a spokesman for Reynolds American Inc., the nation's second-largest cigarette maker, said the industry viewed the development of a biodegradable cigarette to be its "holy grail," but that challenges persisted. Cigarette company documents indicate that consumers have not liked the taste or the draw of alternative filters.
Well, it's good to know that they recognize the environmental impact and are-wait a second, what was that? A biodegradable cigarette is the industry's holy grail? How about a CIGARETTE THAT DOESN'T GIVE ME CANCER AND EMPHYSEMA? I mean, beaches are nice and all, but if you're going to reach for the stars why not focus on improving your product so that it doesn't actually kill your customers? The only green stuff you should be focusing on is what's coming out of my lungs. Once again, Big Tobacco, you disgust me. And now, to smoke.