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Drop in cigarette butts on Seoul streets

The number of cigarette butts dumped onto Seoul streets hit a record low in the first half of the year.

Up until June of this year, 80,161 cases of cigarette butt disposal were detected in Seoul’s 25 districts, according to Seoul City officials Monday.

The total amount of fines imposed was 3.29 billion won ($2.7 million), the lowest since the city started the fine system back in 2007.

Under the present law, illicit cigarette dumping is subject to a fine of 30,000-50,000 won.

The half-yearly figures reached the highest in the second half of 2007 ― 201,247 cases and 8.5 billion won.

Since then, illicit cigarette disposal has remained in the 100,000-150,000 range ― 106,573 in the first half of 2008 and 117,788 in the same period of 2009.

The sum total of the imposed fines was around 5 billion won.

Gangnam-gu, which first started the fine system back in 2007, detected the most cigarette littering, with 19,426 cases and 1.02 billion won in fines (30.4 percent of the total amount), said officials.

Jongno-gu and Jung-gu followed with 420 million won and 355 million won, respectively.

Drivers also tend to throw fewer cigarettes out of their windows while driving.

The number of cigarettes dumped by drivers in 13 major districts fell from 6,547 in the second half of 2008 to 2,696 in the first half of this year, said officials.

The city plans to increase by the end of the year the number of disposable ashtrays in the streets from the present 50,000 to 75,000, they said.

By Bae Hyun-jung (