Butt patrol: Ont. cop dispensing $110 fines for tossed cigarettes
Published Saturday, August 19, 2017 12:16PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, August 19, 2017 12:49PM EDT
A Barrie, Ont. police officer is on a crusade against careless smokers.
“Thirty-three per cent of most of the world’s trash thrown out onto the roads are cigarette butts,” Const. Mark Casey, a former smoker himself, told CTV Barrie. “I'm not against smokers -- I'm against the whole fact of littering.”
Casey says he’s been handing about six $110 littering tickets a month to motorists caught tossing cigarette butts out their vehicles’ windows.
“One hundred per cent of the time it’s disbelief that I’m actually pulling them over,” Casey said of drivers’ reactions. “They look at me and say, ‘It's only a cigarette.’ A couple have said, ‘It's not like I threw a coffee cup out there or anything like that.’”
According to advocacy group Americans for Non-Smokers Rights, however, contrary to popular belief, cigarette butts are not biodegradable. Rather, they are made from cellulose acetate, a plastic that they say never disappears from the environment.
Casey’s $110 tickets might seem expensive and excessive to some, but it’s relatively cheap compared to the fines dished out in the state of Western Australia, where tossing a cigarette butt can net you a $500 fine. During government-issued fire bans, when dry conditions promote the possibilities of wildfires, that penalty swells to a fine of up to $25,000 and/or 12 months in jail.
With files from CTV Barrie