I don’t smoke cigarettes – never have, never will for a variety of reasons. Yet many other people do.
I think everyone has the right to make their own choices that affect them, but I take offense when their choices affect me. Like smoking around me, and me having to breathe in the nasty pollutants from the ETS (environmental tobacco smoke – classified indoor air pollutant). Or, the littering of the butts. I don’t know why smokers think that the proper place to dispose of the butt is on the ground. It is LITTERING. They are pollution to our environment, near and far. And, it is just disgusting. If you are going to smoke, take your butt with you and put it in the proper receptacle – either the ashtrays or the trash can once extinguished. I have smoked a few clove cigarettes in my life, of which the butts stink horribly, way worse than regular cigarettes. But, if I wasn’t near a trash can, I would put the butt in my pocket or back into the pack, despite the smell, and carry it around until I could throw it away.
Last year I realized (a little late in my life) that if you were unhappy with something, then you should figure out the root of the problem and change it, fix it. I am much happier now.
I got back from winter break a week or so ago, and there are cigarette butts all over my porch again because my roommate and her friends smoke, but never empty the ashtray. It is overflowing, and when the wind blows, they too blow on the ground. Or, out of spite to me from saying something to her a few months ago when this first happened, they are now just throwing them on our porch. Which disgusts me, as I like to hang out there on beautiful days and relax. I also do a lot of gardening out there.
Well, it hasn’t changed since I have been back. So last night, around midnight or so, I wrote an email to my rental company about the problem. Our complex is not near their leasing office, and is in a low-income neighborhood, so it is often overlooked in terms of maintenance and groundskeeping. We don’t even get grass like the other complexes, just mulch. And they add layer after layer of mulch every few months to cover up the disturbing layer of cigarette butts that have amassed. Literally, for every 3 pieces of mulch, there is a cigarette butt. Quite a disturbing ratio for an eco-gal who doesn’t smoke.
Last night, I wrote them an email. I told them my issues with the litter, including how disgusting and unsightly it is. And condemned their lack of attention and care for our property’s upkeep.
My boyfriend asked what I was doing, and then remarked that it is pointless – do I really think that they care and will listen to my complaints. I didn’t know, but it was worth trying. After all, PE responded to my post about their building and electricity use, so why could I not get my management company to do something. I had gotten them to clean my carpets in August after the roommate with the dog moved out, so I had reason for hope.
Lo and behold this morning when I exited my apartment, I almost ran into one of the maintenance guys who was right outside my door – picking up litter, AND emptying the ashtray. Coincidence, or not? Did I actually get something done. I was excited, and contemplated the possibilities.
Upon arriving home, I checked my email for a response. And I had one:
How ecstatic I am. Obviously, it WAS because of me. And even further proof of my impact, they gave every apartment a letter on the issue:
Please note, they said “unsightly and disgusting”, my exact words, just switched.
So the lesson we have learned this morning: YOU CAN DO IT.
Now, I’m eager to see the repercussions and lasting effects, also how the residents respond to it, particularly my roommate. I know that problem wasn’t specifically addressed, so we’ll see.