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New tool put to use in litter fight

Brookhaven Beautiful and Keep Lincoln County Beautiful memberswould like to see smokers kick the habit of tossing cigarette buttsout car windows onto roadsides.

The organizations have received a vacuum mower fromCleveland-based Mississippi Tool and Die for use in picking upcigarette litter at local intersections, said Ronnie Durr, thecounty’s solid waste coordinator.

The machine was used for the first time Thursday at theintersection of Brookway Boulevard and Highway 51. Durr said thatwas an obvious place to start because it’s a high profile areawhere stopped motorists dispose of cigarette remains.

“In time, other intersections will be identified to be cleanedup,” Durr said.

The effort is another part of this month’s Great AmericanCleanup campaign, said Brookhaven Beautiful’s JimminettePhillips.

“What we’re trying to do is raise everyone’s awareness,”Phillips said.

Phillips urged smokers to hold on to cigarette butts until theyget home, and then properly dispose of them there. Based on theamount of litter seen at the intersection Thursday, she indicatedthat’s not happening now.

“People don’t want to keep cigarettes in their own cars, so theytoss them out for everyone to experience,” Phillips said.

Phillips pointed out that tossing cigarette butts out a windowis potentially-dangerous due to the possibility of fires starting.The litter is also costly to clean up. She said the money spent oncleaning up roadways could be better used elsewhere.

Phillips said the litter habit impacts visitors’ perception ofBrookhaven and Lincoln County.

“That reflects on us as a people, who we are and our behavior,”Phillips said. “We don’t want people to think that of us.”