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Comments made by mg

Smoking Continues In San Diego Parks Despite Ban

The conversation that took place on-air was frustrating for me. First of all, I thought the guests lacked good ideas. Second, I couldn't get through when I tried calling!

I feel there is a very simple solution to this that works for everyone. San Diego has one of the most (arguably) efficient workforces in place and we don't even recognize it. They work their own hours. They aren't even paid. Yet, they do a better job cleaning San Diego than any ordinance - even with proper funding - could ever dream. They are our homeless, environmental activists, and outdoor hobbyists; CAN PICKERS!

Though my beach partying days are mostly behind me, I spent enough years by the coast to know that within 5 minutes of tossing a can on the pile (when it was legal) there would be someone dragging a bag full of cans to pick it up. At 5 cents a pop, its easy money. Even the bottles/cans that make it to the garbage are no match for these free-money scavengers. If the city tried to organize such an operation it would cost millions - they can't even clean fire pits for less than a million per year! But, the can pickers earn no wage from the city. They get a tax-free bounty on whatever they return for recycling.

Why not do the same for cigarette butts? A drinker shells out 5 cents per can for CRV. When someone returns that can they are given back that 5 cents. Its budget neutral for the city and the beverage company. I'll take a guess that they might even appreciate getting to recycle aluminum! If cigarette butts were printed with a small notice of CRV I think it would represent a goldmine for the can pickers. A chance to expand their already profitable business. The smoker pays 1 or 2 cents per cigarette (so 20-40 cents per pack) upon purchase and the environmental savior who collects them gets that money right back! The cigarette companies simply need to add a few letters to their printing press operation for the CRV notice. The city does nothing (a good thing) and we all have a cleaner San Diego!

(One caveat: cigarette butts without this label should also be accepted, though perhaps at a lesser value. It might be beneficial to consider a refund per ounce/pound approach, too.)

Ordinances are rules and require enforcement. Even with the best of intentions, some ordinances become burdens. Such is the case with the smoking ban. How can we really expect someone who doesn't care enough about their own health to respect the environment and the health of others? Its irrational. By creating this system, which has been proven to work with bottles/cans, I think we will save money (especially money wasted by one guest's "studies"), create a cleaner California, and keep the law enforcers and lifeguards where they need to be - NOT hiding behind a tree to catch an idiot smoking in a park.

April 14, 2010 at 3:11 p.m. ( | suggest removal )