Friday, September 30, 2016

Dear Editor - From 7th and 8th graders at WCA

Dear Editor,
My name is Elizabeth Wales, and I am writing on behalf of the seventh and eighth grade class from Windham Christian Academy. Recently we have been noticing a problem with cigarette butts being littered on the side of the road on our school property. My class and I decided we wanted to take action.

We bought 1-foot square tiles, and brought them to the site of the litter. We randomly dropped them on the cigarette butts, and then counted how many were under our tile. We did the math and came to the conclusion that there were approximately 3.6 cigarettes per square foot. Imagine that you are in a room that is 100 square feet. If people were throwing them at the same rate they were throwing them on the side of the road, there would be 360 cigarette butts in that small room. Who could possibly be that careless?

The environmental and health issues cigarette butts cause are outrageous. They are polluting oceans and bodies of water, and negatively affecting the animals that live there. Just the same, the cigarette butts are polluting our school. They are getting thrown on land and little kids could picked them up and put them in their mouths. The kids could become very sick. In fact, a majority of the cigarette butts we counted were near the kindergarten classroom and playground. 

Now, our school is in a small town in Maine. But littering cigarette butts is a problem worldwide. Think of a big city, like San Francisco for example. The litter audit estimated that it would cost over $7 million to clean all the cigarette butts in that city! In Australia, the amount of littered butts could fill seven Olympic swimming pools!

Now, let’s talk about filters. A lot of people believe that filters make cigarette butts safer. That is a myth! Cigarette companies use that as propaganda to see their products. Filters are still toxic. In fact, they aren’t biodegradable either! They don’t break down and become the dirt, they actually just break down into smaller pieces. That also means there are traces of cigarette butts we can’t even see. 

So what are my class and I going to do about it? It is imperative that we make a difference in their negligent issue. Well to start I’m writing this letter to many papers in the Cumberland County area. We are also making signs, talking to local politicians, etc. We are trying our best to make a difference in our community, whether slight or drastic. We ask that you please take this letter into consideration. As for the people littering, keep in mind that imaginary room. Do you want to be the one who changes the number from 360 to 361?

Kindest regards,
7th and 8th grade class of WCA

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