Well over a year ago, Waccamaw Hospital in Murrells Inlet put into policy the rule of no smoking on any hospital property. We surely want to applaud that decision. After all, who better than a hospital employee can know the suffering, sickness and death that is caused by smoking. They are treating sick and dying patients everyday who were smokers. They see the end result each and every time they go to work.
However, the hospital employees in their uniforms cross Old Kings Highway to get off of hospital grounds, throwing their cigarette butts everywhere, as well as their drink cups.
They use the power company's big green electrical box as a seat, even when it's raining. The circle of butts around it began to look like a giant 5-foot round ashtray. They were using the park benches as smoking sections until the park removed them; then they perched on the telephone poles that laid along the park grounds like a bunch of turtles on a log. So the park removed them. Murrells Inlet put up two signs on the most littered smoking spots that say, "Litter makes us crabby." As of today, someone has knocked both down.
Piles of cigarette butts are litter. Didn't matter, they smoked right next to the signs. Now the park has added more fences around the playing fields, but they go around it and smoke in the place our children are playing baseball, soccer, basketball, etc.
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Murrells Inlet is a beautiful community. We don't want cigarette butts littering our parks and the sides of our roads. The hospital administration is well aware of the problem. There have been many complaints from the residents who live and work in the area and pass their mess every day. They own a lot of property and mobile homes they bought up on Nelson Avenue and Gregory Lane. Why doesn't the hospital designate a smoking area there? They can litter with butts or let them smoke in their own cars, just stop using our community park as an ashtray.
Just hope the next time you're in the hospital for surgery or lab work the person I saw all dressed in green with green booties covering his shoes and a green mask hanging around his neck standing under the park tree in the dirt and butts smoking hasn't come back into the sterile operating room to work on you.
The writer lives in Murrells Inlet.