ENCINITAS, Calif. — The City of Encinitas is poised to ban nearly all smoking and vaping on city property. It’s an effort to stop the improper disposal of cigarette butts and single-use plastics from ending up in the ocean and landfills.

“They’re everywhere. Look down and once you start seeing them, you can’t un-see them,” Mark O’Connor, a retired sheriff who volunteers on the Encinitas Environmental Commission, told FOX 5 Monday.

“There are 15,000 wound pieces of plastic fiber that makes up the filter and it captures all the tar and nicotine metals and things that are carcinogenic and then when they’re dropped and disposed of improperly that eventually gets into the ocean and leeches into the environment,” O’Connor said.

The idea behind the ban is to stop people from smoking so they can’t use the earth as an ashtray or dump. Following O’Connor’s presentation before last week’s city council making the argument to expand the city’s ban on smoking in public places, he and a team are tasked with coming up with a workable and legal ordinance that would ban smoking on the sidewalks and streets. But one of the more questionable aspects – driving in your car and flicking a butt out the window.

“If you can go that far to say even if you’re just driving through this city and you’re smoking and flicking, you can’t do that. We’re waiting for that opinion to come out. It’ll direct the final draft of the ordinance’s language.”

While some now think vaping is a safer way to smoke, the truth is, environmentally the waste from vaping is even greater.

“It is a single-use plastic device that is not recyclable. It’s got a battery in it that goes into a landfill and leeches out its contents. And then it’s got that same filter with all the nicotine and the leads and all these poisonous chemicals. It’s actually treated as a biohazard by a lot of the recycling industry.”

The group will next report back to the full city council and eventually a vote.