By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – On Wednesday, May 14th the Brazilian House Committee for Economic, Trade and Industry Development approved bill PL 3.259/12 banning the disposal of cigarette butts on Brazilian roads and streets. If passed into law those caught tossing cigarette filters, cigarillos, cigars or other smoking products will be fined R$100. Repeat offenders can be fined double that amount.
Additionally, if the the bill becomes law cigarette manufacturers will be responsible for providing posters at points of sale that inform customers of the new law and its penalties. Manufacturers who fail to provide said posters will be fined R$800 with repeat offenders again being fined double that amount.
The project began due to concerns that once discarded, cigarette butts, which often take years to decompose/biodegrade, will flow into sewers, streams and various bodies of water and cause larger problems as they accumulate.
“In general, the fate of these residues [cigarettes discarded in the streets] are sewers, rivers and beaches,” Deputy Edson Pimenta (PSD-BA) told Agência Brasil. “In the first case, their piling up in sewage galleries can cause flooding; in other cases, water pollution; and in both cases, the result is harmful to human health because of the composition of filters, which includes things like heavy metals, arsenic and other harmful substances.”
In Rio de Janeiro there are currently laws against littering that include fines for improper disposal of cigarettes butts. The “Lixo Zero” (Zero Trash) program, after many delays, went into full effect in the city during August of last year. Under the program, fines of R$157 have been issued for discarded cigarettes and other smoking products on sidewalks and in the streets.
The federal bill for the disposal of cigarette butts now must go on to be analyzed by the Meio Ambiente e Desenvolvimento Sustentável (Environment and Sustainable Development) and the Constituição e Justiça e de Cidadania (Constitution, Justice and Citizenship) before moving to the final approval of veto stage with President Dilma Rousseff.
Read more (in Portuguese).
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