You cannot help but be turned off by the sight of piles of discarded cigarette butts. If smokers have to smoke, the very least they could do is to dispose of the remains of their habit in a responsible way.
They are the number one item of refuse found on California and many other highways and of course they do not decompose quickly nor completely.
Cigarette butts are the most common form of litter with an estimated 4.5 trillion cigarette butts thrown away every year – worldwide. They accumulate outside buildings, on parking lots and in streets where they can be transported through stormwater drains to streams, rivers and beaches. The ban on smoking in buildings and public transport has obviously made the problem even worse.
Not only unsightly but actually toxic to the environment and more.
Sharing those top ten reasons
1. Cigarette butts are poisonous when consumed by children or animals – and it only takes one!
2. The toxic chemicals in cigarette butts are a threat to our aquatic ecosystems while the substances that leach out are highly toxic to freshwater micro-organisms as well as marine life. A serious pollutant in the sea, cigarette butts are THE most common item recovered during beach clean ups world wide.
3. The production of cigarettes is very damaging to the environment. It is estimated that one tree is lost for every 300 cigarettes produced (that is one and a half cartons).
4. Many chemical products are used during the course of growing tobacco and manufacturing cigarettes, the residues of which may be found in cigarettes prepared for consumption. These chemicals include pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, fungicides and rodenticides.
5. In addition, over 4000 chemicals may also be introduced into the environment via cigarette particulate matter (for example tar) – and mainstream smoke.
6. 95% of cigarette filters are made of cellulose acetate, a plastic slow to degrade. Cellulose acetate fibers are thinner than sewing thread; white and packed tightly together to create a filter with an appearance of cotton. Cigarette filters are specifically designed to absorb vapors and to accumulate particulate smoke components.
7. Discarded cigarette butts have been linked to large wildfires, resulting in the destruction of wildlife, vegetation and property worldwide.
8. Thrown away cigarette butts consume tax dollars for cleanup and disposal, money that could be used elsewhere for urgent services.
9. They are a blight on our surroundings and…
10. They last forever!
As many smokers are not doing the right thing as far as safely disposing of their cigarette butts, governmental agencies, environmental organizations and anti-litter groups need to do much more to educate smokers that littering cigarette butts causes considerable harm to the environment. Cigarette manufacturers should also be playing a part in such education.