A group of Carthage young people wants to discourage people from smoking or throwing their cigarette butts around the playgrounds in Carthage parks.
Carthage In Action, a group of Carthage High School students, asked the Carthage City Council on Tuesday for permission to put signs around playgrounds in Carthage parks asking people not to smoke around the playgrounds.
The group brought with them a large plastic jar filled with cigarette butts they said they had found around the playgrounds at Griggs Park and Central Park.
“We promote safe and healthier communities and we bring community service to our community,” said Brittany Gonzalez Ortiz, who spoke to the council for the seven young people who made the presentation. “We have a picture, and it shows cigarette filters on the playground and that’s not good because there are toddlers that play around that area and they can actually eat the cigarette butts. They also make the park look really trashy.”
Ortiz asked for permission to install signs near the playgrounds that would say “Please be courteous and refrain from smoking around playgrounds and picnic areas. Thank You,” or “Please protect the air we share by not smoking near playgrounds and picnic areas. Thank You,” or Keep our parks clean and our children healthy. Please refrain from smoking near playgrounds and picnic areas.”
“We want to protect the air that we share,” Ortiz told council members. “One problem is cigarette filters are non-biodegradable and they have toxins that leach into the water. Also second hand smoking is not safe at any level whether you are inside or outside. We have a solution for that, we are here to ask you guys if you would let us put up some signs. We have some examples there. You can edit them or you can put anything you want on them.”
Ortiz said the group, Carthage In Action, which is affiliated to the Alliance for Southwest Missouri and Carthage Caring Communities, can get grants and would pay for and install the signs to the city’s specifications.
Mayor Mike Harris told the group the council would consider the request and get back with group sponsor Robin Standridge.