Cigarette butts are toxic waste and it's time we do something about it. Here's a quick overview of the facts: (from www.cigwaste.org)
Trillions of cigarettes: 5.6 trillion cigarettes sold globally every year; 360 billion are sold annually in the United States.
Butt waste is everywhere: 99% of the 360 billion cigarettes sold have cellulose acetate (plastic) filters; at least one-third
of those – 120 billion – are discarded into the environment. Washed into rivers, lakes and the ocean, and eaten by birds,
animals and fish, they are the most littered item in the U.S. and the world. Smoking-related debris is 1/3 or more of all debris items found on U.S. beaches and in rivers and streams.
Butt waste is not biodegradable: Filters are non-biodegradable, and while ultraviolet rays from the sun will eventually break them into smaller pieces, the toxic material never disappears.
Butt waste is toxic: Cigarette butts leach organic chemicals and heavy metals into the environment that are toxic to fresh and salt-water fish. They are poisonous when ingested by children and other living organisms.
Cigarettes kill: Containing so many highly toxic, carcinogenic chemicals, pesticides, and nicotine, tobacco use is the No.
1 cause of preventable death globally, taking over 5 million lives a year, and is likely to kill 1 billion people this century alone (ten times the 20th century toll).
What can we do?:
. Write your local politician and express your concern
. Write to cigarette companies and tell them to take responsibility for the damage their product is doing to the environment
. Organise clean up days in your neighbourhood
. Contribute money to organisations like cigwaste.org and other environmental groups
. The next time you see some smoker tossing their butt in the street, tell her/him "Pick it up Moron!" (you may want to omit the noun)