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Letters: The Butts of Oriental
Pick 'em up
April 10, 2023

itter. It’s everywhere. Oriental resident Marcia Ostendorff writes in with one small way to help:
Take a short walk around the lovely town of Oriental and you will find many cigarette butts discarded on the ground. Thank you to everyone who crushes the flame and prevents a disastrous fire from burning our sweet town to the ground. As a retired educator, it makes me happy to know most of us learned the lessons of fire prevention at an early age. Who doesn’t remember the sessions on “Stop, Drop, and Roll!” I believe we do make Smokey the Bear proud.

However, we can take that lesson one step further. We now know, in spite of what we were told years ago, those smoking butts do not just stop burning, biodegrade, and melt harmlessly away. Scientists find butts along with other plastic bits in the digestive tracts of fish, birds, and mammals. Some of which end up in the food on our dinner plates, in mother’s milk, and in our bloodstream.

No, I’m not making that up; I was a science teacher in my previous life.

Those butts are nasty.

So, help me out here, folks. My husband is tired of finding cigarette butts on the floor of our home, in the washing machine, on the steps, down the hall, and in the garden like a trail of crumbs telling him I have been at it again.

Pull a bottle out of your recycling bin. Carry it with you as you walk. Fill the bottle with cigarette butts from around town. Dump those butts in a trash bag and dispose of the bag properly. You could recycle the bottle or start filling it all over again.

It certainly feels good to look back and not see ugly little tiny packets of poison scattered down the road behind me.

A special note of appreciation goes out to those who, instead of leaving a butt on the ground, tuck it in a pocket and dispose of it in the trash. You are my heroes.

With a little bit of work, we can make Oriental an even lovelier place to live.

Marcia Ostendorff
Oriental, NC
April 10, 2023

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