Making Connections Between Tobacco Control and Water Quality?

October 20, 2009 § Leave a comment

Other folks clearly made the connection before I did. This is a Coastal Clean-Up Day poster from a couple years ago, designed by Goodby, Silverstein & Partners

The CigEgret. Other folks clearly made the cigarette-watershed connection before I did. This is a Coastal Clean-Up Day poster from a couple years ago, designed by Goodby, Silverstein & Partners

In my capacity as bicycle advocacy group C.I.C.L.E.‘s campaign director, I attended a meeting this morning which had an inordinately long name: the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Center for Disease Control and Prevention Funding Opportunity General Stateholder Meeting. The county of L.A. public health department is preparing two applications for federal stimulus funding. They’re for two separate $10M grants: one for tobacco control and one for obesity prevention, which includes physical activity and nutrition. The county will be applying in December and the 2-year federal grants will be awarded in February.

I was mostly there to see how C.I.C.L.E. might receive funding for reducing obesity by getting folks up on bikes, which, Creek Freak readers know, will also help heal our watersheds. During the explanation of the Tobacco Control and Prevention Program‘s Community Action Program, I overheard something that I think may have implications for watershed programs. Mostly as a part of price controls that would discourage smoking by making it more expensive, one of draft program’s goals is that cities “will adopt an ordinance that requires consumers to pay a fee for the mitigation of litter.” The speaker, Linda Aragon who directs the county’s Tobacco Control and Prevention Program, mentioned that some other cities had already done this.

It occurs to me that there could be a connection with litter mitigation funding and projects that keep trash out of our waterways, as required by the Clean Water Act and the various L.A. County trash TMDLs. TMDL stands for Total Maximum Daily Load; the trash TMDL is a water board regulation that requires cities to prevent trash from going from their streets into storm drains and into rivers, creeks, and oceans. Many cities are fighting the trash regulations because they say that they’re too expensive… perhaps, if those cities are also anti-tobacco, they can pass these sorts of laws and can use a portion of the funding collected to implement anti-trash water quality measures? Sounds like a win-win!

Are any creek freak readers aware of similar tobacco litter mitigation fees from other municipalities? and if any of those funds have helped with water quality projects? Let us know in the comments below. I think it could be an opportunity for coalition building – creek freaks working together with anti-smoking advocates!

And that brings me to mentioning the Blogger Beach Clean-Up happening this Saturday October 24th at 4pm in Santa Monica, where I am expecting to clean up a few cigarette butts. Meet either your favorite or second favorite L.A. Creek Freak, clean-up the beach, and mingle with like-minded eco-Angelenos. You don’t have to be a blogger… just come and help out. Lots of cool prizes! For details, see Green L.A. Girl.

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