Hello Guys! My name is Jerrin and I’m a senior at John Randolph Tucker High School in Richmond. This is my second year in Y Street and my first year on the Y Street Leadership Team. In continued celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day, I want to talk about how our Share The Air campaign can help reduce litter that pollutes our environment.
Share The Air is calling for all Virginians in the commonwealth to stand up for clean and healthy outdoor places. We want to create vapor-free and tobacco-free outdoor spaces to create new behavioral norms that promote health equity for all communities. Cigarette butts are the most common littered item. They’re everywhere. They’re 40% of all collected litter. You can find them in public parks, sidewalks, roadsides, public beaches, and waterways, which makes Virginia’s outdoor spaces unattractive and unclean. Share The Air wants to bring attention to the detrimental environmental impact of cigarette litter. Not only are humans breathing in the secondhand smoke and aerosol from cigarettes and e-cigarettes, but our wildlife and waterways are also suffering from the contamination of our natural resources. Animals are at risk as they are eating the poisonous debris, while the butts and e-cigs are contaminating our waterways with heavy metals.
Share The Air is a huge step forward in reducing cigarette litter in our environment. With its promotion of smoke-free, vapor-free, and tobacco-free parklands, the campaign will help keep Virginia beautiful and safe for children like my little brother RJ. RJ loves playing in the park, however, one time he tried to eat a cigarette butt that he found playing in a sandbox. Ingesting cigarette litter like that butt in the sandbox poses a great risk to children. Luckily, Share The Air is working to reduce the cigarette litter in our public spaces so all Virginians, like RJ, can enjoy clean, smoke-free outdoor spaces.
For more information about what Share The Air and youth like Jerrin are doing to help keep Virginia outdoor spaces clean, please visit our website at ShareTheAirVA.com.