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Edmonton to install 200 ashtrays along Jasper Avenue

July 1st, 2009:

By Alexandra Zabjek, edmontonjournal.com

EDMONTON - The city will install 200 ashtrays along a 12-block stretch of Jasper Avenue this spring in hopes of butting out cigarette litter on a strip where bar-goers often smoke on the sidewalks.

There are currently no city-owned ashtrays on Jasper Avenue between 97th and 109th streets, said Don Belanger, manager of the Capital City Clean Up program.

"It's not part of our street furniture. We're taking this step to see if there's a difference," he said.

The need for ashtrays has arisen, in part, from recent changes to municipal and provincial legislation that puts tight restrictions on where smokers can smoke, Belanger said.

The city also wants to distribute 10,000 personal pocket ashtrays by the end of summer. The pocket ashtrays are small containers where smokers can drop their cigarette butts if they can't immediately find an ashtray.

The city will launch a public education campaign to raise awareness about cigarette litter and could eventually move to an enforcement blitz.

"Cigarette litter is litter. It's a $250 fine," he said. "If there are ashtrays all around you, you should be able to find one."

Belanger noted the ashtrays will be placed in areas that will fit with regulations that prohibit smoking within five metres of doorways.

The Jasper Avenue program is following on the heels of an outdoor ashtray program implemented along a three-block stretch of Whyte Avenue in January. It's too soon to tell whether those ashtrays have helped, Belanger said.

Cigarette butts comprised 36 per cent of small litter in Edmonton, according to a 2007 litter audit.

azabjek@thejournal.canwest.com


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