Be a part of the solution...prevent cigarette butt pollution!
- Most people think that cigarette filters are made out of cotton. However, that is not true. Cigarette filters are made primarily of a material called cellulose fibers and cellulose acetate. This is a form of plastic. Plastic does not decompose very easily and many forms of plastic can take up to 1,000 years to decompose. Therefore, cigarette butts are NOT biodegradable. Biodegradable means that objects can be slowly destroyed and broken down into very small parts by natural processes, such as bacteria. Because cigarette butts are not biodegradable, they will be with us for a long, long time.
- Cigarette butts left on the ground can be very harmful to wildlife and waterways. There are many examples of how cigarette butts are harmful to our aquatic system. According to the California Department of Public Health, “the toxic chemicals in cigarette butts are a threat to our aquatic ecosystems. The substances that leach out are highly toxic to freshwater microorganisms. In 2010, over one million cigarettes were removed from California beaches and inland waterways as part of the annual International Coastal Cleanup.” Cigarette butts release the same toxic and cancer causing chemicals such as Nicotine, Ethylphenol, and Arsenic. When fish and water animals eat a cigarette butt, they are also consuming these toxic chemicals. To make matters worse, humans can accidentally consume these diseased fish. Therefore these chemicals and diseases can enter our bodies too.
- Cigarette butts can be very harmful to pets. Cigarette butts left on the ground can be a big health problem for pets, especially at playgrounds and parks. It only takes two or three cigarette butts to be eaten and ingested by a small pet to cause seriously harm or to possibly kill them. Obviously there is no nutritional value in a cigarette butt, but a small animal does not know that. When a small animal eats a cigarette butt or several cigarette butts, they feel full. And since cigarette butts are not digestible they can actually starve to death.
- Cigarette butts can be very harmful to small children. Small children can mistakenly and accidentally eat these small cigarette butts and consume these harmful and dangerous chemicals.