Saturday 8 April 2006

Chew your butts

Blink for the litter
Being a pedestrian, cyclist or user of public transport, it is amazing the amount litter one sees on the pavements, the bike paths and at the transport stops.
Usually, it is not the usual crisps or chocolate wrappers or cans of fizzy drink but patches of discarded chewing gum and cigarette butts of various lengths depending on the finished state of the cigarette as the bus or tram approaches.
Even with the no-smoking areas in stations and specially designated areas for smoking we still have those butts on the ground despite the fact that stubbing bins and sand dishes are provided at those locations.
I find that I frown at people who just discard their litter no matter how close they are to a proper discarding container known to many as a rubbish bin, but it appears that many are oblivious of its function.
A menace, a real menace
Cigarette butts and chewing gun are usually surreptitiously cast off either with a flick for the cigarette or some hand-mouth contact then hand-furniture contact as the chewed gum finds a home after the mastication.
By comparison, it probably no worse than picking ones nose and flicking the rotten greenish yellow grime or using ones hand to transfer spittle from mouth to desired destination.
The chewing gum problem is so bad that one dares not touch the undersides of seats or table as there is the possibility that an “Oink woz here” gum marker has been a stuck there.
With DNA testing and so on, by the time we all have biometric passports and databases full of information that the computers would puke at their content, it might be possible to decipher the marker and fine the culprit for vandalising public places or littering the street.
Stuck with it, annoyingly
The humongous machines needed to remove the gum makes one appreciate the intolerance of chewing gum inSingapore. That ban has since been relaxed but it shows just how much this littering can be the bane of a permissive and free society.
If you have had to scrap chewing gum off your shoe soles, you will understand, but worse still having to get it off your clothes because some asocial twerp has stuck it on a seat or rest then you only have recourse; be livid with rage as you surf the Internet for ideas.
I do wonder if properly policed and enforced fines for littering can help change attitudes to stop this eye-sore.
I have nothing against smoking but I am having serious problems with accompanying poor social graces that allows for the disregard of non-smokers and the littering of our streets. It is like being allowed to relieve oneself in any place one might choose rather than the conveniences.
The cleaning up of the butts is easier and is done either by street sweepers or vagrants looking for unfinished cigarettes.
New edibles – science and nature collide
Starting with chewing cum, I would suggest that it be reconstituted that after enjoying the satisfaction of chewing the gum it can be swallowed.
Better still, once the gum is put in the mouth, it should have some genetic affinity material that makes it want to slither down towards the tonsils that it becomes impossible not to swallow it.
Moving on to cigarettes; tobacco companies can have a major money making new lease of life by making those butts, stubs or filters edible.
Once the smoker and drawn in all the nicotine they can through smoking, they get the final nicotine fix by being able to chew what is left of the un-smoked cigarette having flicked off the ashened part with the possibility of flavouring the bit with a flavour applicator that doubles as a lighter.
Something like a vanilla lighter or strawberry lighter if not chilli or curry lighter comes to mind.
Anybody would quit smoking after a few of these.
Gum profiling and butt identity
Just as our liberties, freedoms and secrets are being sold down the line of outrageous anti-terrorism laws masquerading as patriotism, Big-Brother can analyse discarded cigarette butts to and send notices to the homes of the culprits.
The global market-place is rejuvenated for the food and flavours industry, the tobacco companies can move into health flavours, the DNA profiling and instant identification business would be rife.
Imagine wireless computer terminals at every lamp-post with finger-print and retina scanning sign-on and a biometric analysis rod which can assess DNA material from all sorts of litter, mine databases and send off the notices.
You get a gift voucher for your civic duties and the culprit lives in a world that would soon be too real to forget you first read about it here.

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