Target: Pat Quinn, Governor of Illinois
Goal: Applaud Illinois lawmakers for banning cigarette butt litter and penalizing perpetrators with a $1,500 fine
An estimated 1.69 billion pounds of cigarette butt litter ends up in toxic waste dumps every year. And since cigarette buts are made of a plastic cellulose acetate, they’re not biodegradable. They are the most frequently discarded waste item, not only in the state of Illinois, but around the world.
Illinois lawmakers have recognized cigarette butts as a dangerous form of litter that is harming the environment in a variety of ways. Birds eat them, they get stuck in drinking water sources and sewers, they clog machinery, and they quickly devalue any piece of property. If you are going to smoke, simply extinguish your cigarettes and place the butts in a designated receptacle.
Beginning on January 1, 2013, anyone who is caught littering a cigarette butt in Illinois will face a $1,500 fine. This applies to people walking down the street and people who flick butts out of their car windows. And this is just the fine for a first conviction, which is classified as a class B misdemeanor. Second convictions will be considered class A, and third or fourth convictions could be punished with fines up to $25,000.
Sign the below petition to applaud Illinois lawmakers for recognizing the severity of the cigarette butt waste problem and imposing strict penalties on people who carelessly break this law. Let Illinois serve as an example to other city, state, and national groups of how an environmentally-conscious government operates.
Dear Governor Quinn,
Thank you and the other Illinois lawmakers for supporting legislation makes cigarette butt waste illegal and punishable by hefty fines. This shows that you and your colleagues understand the seriousness of the cigarette butt litter problem in the state and are willing to make a statement about this senseless problem in our communities.
Cigarette butts clog our sewers and machinery, contaminate our water sources, poison birds, and lower property values. Understandably, it will be challenging to enforce this new law in 2014 and beyond. However, most police officers in the area are willing to take it seriously and take enforcement action to crack down on street litterers.
I am urging you to work closely with local law enforcement agencies and environmental groups to ensure that this new law is being enforced as often as necessary. With your help, we can make the state a safer and more beautiful place to live.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: 4028mdk09 via WikiMedia Commons