posted on Dec. 5: Unsightly cigarette butts an eyesore on campus


[img_inline align=”right” src=””]The hot spots include the Institute for Applied Health Sciences, the Commons and Mills Memorial Library. Others on the list are Gilmour Hall and Togo Salmon Hall.

What list have these buildings made?

Places on campus where there are large amounts of cigarette butts strewn around the ground or steps leading into the buildings.

Physical plant director Bob Carter is puzzled why smokers are littering the campus with cigarette butts.

“We know it's an issue,” said Carter. “The problem is caused by butts being thrown on the ground even when there may be a container nearby.”

Carter said several buildings are equipped with stainless steel “butt stops” or there are white plastic pails filled with sand at the entrances to be used to extinguish cigarettes.

If an entranceway doesn't have a container for cigarette butts, notify physical plant, he added, and one will be provided.

“The ideal solution would be for smokers to take responsibility for their actions,” Carter said. “We have a collective duty to ensure the campus is clean and well-maintained. It's important that everyone does their part to reduce litter.”

Cleaning up the butts is a time-consuming job for physical plant staff, who periodically rake and sweep up the butts, he said.
“We don't have a lot of people,” Carter said, “and time that is spent cleaning up the butts reduces the time that could be spent on other custodial activities.”

University employee Gloria McCleary recently sent an e-mail to the Daily News outlining concerns about the message the discarded butts send to prospective students and visitors to campus.

“Here we are today looking for donors to help with our corporate challenges to build new and better facilities for staff and students,” writes McCleary. “It is a disgrace to approach a building that has cigarette butts everywhere, along with people hanging off the doorways blowing smoke.”

The situation is especially noticeable this year outside the new Institute for Applied Health Sciences building.

In consultation with the building's occupants, physical plant staff posted a large sign on the front doors notifying the public smoking within nine metres of buildings is banned, said Karen Sajder, physical plant's mid-campus team service manager.

A yellow line was also painted on the concrete walkway to identify how far away smokers need to be from the doors. A butt container has been ordered for the front of the building and should arrive soon, she added. (The pail that was originally provided for butts has disappeared; Sajder says another pail will be in place tomorrow.)

McMaster is “effectively a smoke-free environment,” said Ron Angus, acting director of Risk Management Services.

No smoking is allowed inside University buildings except for designated areas within Wentworth House (The Phoenix, The Downstairs John), the Faculty Club and student residences.

The University's Policy on Smoking in the Workplace and Public Areas is available at Human Resources under the heading McMaster University Policies.

Photo: Cigarette butts strewn on the ground outside University buildings and not properly disposed of in receptacles sends a negative message to campus visitors, writes a Daily News reader.

Read related Daily News story on Smoking among university students and Leave the Pack Behind campaign