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2019 Letters to the editor stock

On Monday, we celebrate our planet by focusing on clean air, clean water and clean land as part of Earth Day. Can you believe that nearly 38 % of all litter is comprised of cigarette butts? They are the most prominently littered item on our roadways and go on to infiltrate our waterways. That means toxic chemicals are leaching into our environment.

This toxic waste takes up to 10 years to breakdown and is often ingested by aquatic creatures, wildlife, pets and even small children. All will suffer serious health problems from ingesting cigarettes. Look down at the ground when you are walking down the street, in the park or at the beach. How many cigarette butts do you see?

We need to continue comprehensive tobacco prevention and control efforts. Tobacco is not just a health issue, it’s an environmental issue as well.

If you smoke, you can make the decision to do the right thing for yourself, your family and the environment. Free help is available through 1.800.QUIT.NOW or QuitNowIndiana.com.

Amy Blaker, Merrillville

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Editor

Marc Chase is a veteran investigative reporter, columnist and editor of more than two decades. He currently leads The Times news staff as local news editor. He can be reached at 219-933-3327.