The City of Baltimore is filing a lawsuit against tobacco companies for cigarette filter waste, reports CBS News.
City leaders say the lawsuit is intended to “hold cigarette manufacturers accountable for cleanup costs associated with tobacco product litter.” Baltimore officials stated that millions of cigarette filters are littered throughout Baltimore, and they “pollute the soil and water and create a huge cleanup burden for the city.” Baltimore spends more than USD 32 million annually to collect more than 2,600 tons of litter, including an estimated USD 5.3 million to remove cigarette filter waste.
“This is the first litter lawsuit against cigarette manufacturers, and Baltimore is proud to lead the way in ensuring that these companies pay for cleanup costs that for decades they have offloaded on communities like ours,” Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott said.
“The same tobacco companies that for decades failed to acknowledge the health risks of their products are now refusing to take responsibility for cigarette butt waste,” said Baltimore City Solicitor James L. Shea. “We believe this lawsuit will hold Big Tobacco accountable for the damage its product causes to the City’s streets and waterways.”
Officials say Baltimore’s lawsuit seeks to recover expenditures and losses resulting from cigarette filter litter in the city, including cleanup and disposal costs, damage to natural resources, diminution in property values, loss of revenue, and substantial fines for dumping their litter in the city.