Litterbugs Leave Smoldering Butts
"Why should I have to be the enforcer of this, why should I be the one telling people where they can smoke, where they can't smoke, it's not right," Thiel said.
With the trash outside, the question becomes, who is responsible for the clean up? The city says the cigarette butts on the sidewalk are the business's and it's their responsibility to clean them up, but just one step away onto the sidewalk, is city property, and these cigarette butts belong to them.
"Basically the city just does the sweeping on the streets in the downtown area," said Mary Ellen Lea, of Columbia Public Works.
The city provides trash cans, but not ashtrays or smoker's stations. And the cigarette butts remain.
"If they're telling everyone where to go smoke, maybe they should be providing the ash cans, and the service to them, cleaning them," Thiel said.
In the end, the city says its up to the individual smokers to take care of the streets. But Thiel says he doesn't see that happening.
"Some people are in defiance, saying hey city, right in the street, this is what you think of me, this is what you think of my money, you know, its defiance. It's making history, Boston Tea Party, now we have the Columbia cigarette party," said Thiel.
The city provides trash cans on every street corner in downtown. They say they haven't noticed an increase, but Thiel and other business owners say the trash is all over the city.
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