By Nicholas Vercilla —
Kathleen Hrabovsky has been looking for a way to help Pittsburgh deal with cigarette butts.
She says that even within the four government buildings on Ross and Grant Street, she and her workers pick up an average of 1,000 butts within a year.
Now she has spearheaded a program to add 16 new cigarette receptacles around the government buildings.
“Many people don’t even consider cigarette butts litter,” said Hrabovsky.
Hrabovsky, Sustainability Manager for the Office of Sustainability in Allegheny County, said there will be four receptacles by each of the four government buildings on Ross Street and Grant Street. These are the Courthouse, the County Office Building, the Family Courts Building, and the City County Building.
In addition, seven 24’ 36-inch signs will accompany the receptacles, which will hold around 5,000 cigarette butts each.
“We will maintain them so they’re inviting,” said Hrabovsky.
According to Hrabovsky, this is a response to a survey that was done by the Office of Sustainability in which they found out that downtown, particularly around Ross Street, has the highest traffic of smoking.
“The cigarette litter is very pervasive downtown,” said Hrabovsky.
She has her workers and volunteers pick up cigarette butts around the government buildings every day.
Deputy Director for the Department of Facilities Management Phil La May says that every day when he goes to work, he sees people smoking by the buildings even though they are no smoking areas. He believes that more education and resources are needed to help solve this problem.
“There is nothing more frustrating than to see people smoking next to no smoking area signs and throwing the remains of their cigarettes on the ground when they only have to walk 20 feet to a receptacle,” said La May.
Hrabovsky believes that the receptacles will be out sometime in the spring and will hopefully lead to the city funding more of them in other smoking-heavy areas in Pittsburgh.
“It’s a source of pollution and it negatively affects the ecosystem,” said Hrabovsky.