Cigarette butts may cause storm water drainage problems - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Cigarette butts may cause storm water drainage problems

You'll soon pay more on your MLG&W bill and this time it isn't to heat your home.

You've watched people flick their cigarette butts from their car window.

But these litter bugs are posing a growing pollution problem for our drainage system and soon you'll have to pay to clean it up.

The Memphis Storm Water Program found more businesses are down-sizing their smoking areas, so more butts are ending up in our drainage system, to the tune of 90,000 tons a year across America.

Memphis City Public Works Director Jerry Collins says it's a toxic problem. "I don't know why some people think that the world is their ashtray, but all these butts end up in Nonconnah Creek, Wolf River, Mississippi River," he said. "It impacts your pocketbook by the city having to implement things like the storm water fee which takes effect on july the 1st."

The goal is to raise $140 million for drainage improvements to prevent flooding. The storm water fee will be a part of your MLG&W bill. And with utility bills already hitting us where it hurts, the flick of a cigarette filter will soon become an even lower blow.

A typical household would pay 2.54 extra a month and businesses would pay more.

Littering is a misdemeanor that can carry a six month jail sentence and a 500-dollar fine.

You can call (901) 52-Clean to report a littering motorist.

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