Dear Editor,

Cigarettes have been around for many, many years. The plastic pollution from cigarette butts has grown immensely in the last 50 decades. It is a habit to, when you are finished smoking your cigarette, to drop it on the ground. Some places have tried to regulate the cigarette butt litter by providing trash bins specifically to throw away a finished cigarette. These however, have not worked so well for our environment.

Cigarette butts and other microplastics are found everywhere now. In our oceans, on our playground, and on our sidewalks. When I go to the beach with my family it ruin the experience to see hundreds of cigarette butts and other plastics pieces in the sand and in the ocean. A single cigarette butt can take 1 to 5 years to decompose. Other microplastics can take up to 100 years to decompose, including styrofoam, one of the most harmful to our environment. Styrofoam can take up to 500 years to decompose. These single use plastics are harmful to our land and our animals.

Moving beyond single use plastics is something that we can do right now. This change will benefit our people, land, and animals. I hope that one day I will go to the beach and not see hundreds of microplastic pieces or go to a restaurant and get my takeout food in a styrofoam container. Virginia must begin to eliminate single-use plastics to conserve our environment and put wildlife over waste.

Khristen Hamilton

Richmond

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