I think that everyone should have a 'cause'. Believe in something and stand up for it. Get passionate and even fight for it if you have to.
The No Butts About It Litter Campaign captured my attention, ignited a flame inside of me, and started my creative juices flowing.
It was there I learned that cigarette butts are the number one littered item… WORLD WIDE. Contrary to popular belief, butts can take up to TEN YEARS or even more to biodegrade. When I was a smoker I never hesitated before flicking my butt.
“What’s one tiny filter that will disintegrate in a few days?” I thought. Unfortunately I wasn’t the only one who shared that misconception. There are over 176,000,000 pounds of discarded butts in the United States each year.
I shudder to think how many of them were mine. And it’s not just American smokers that are contaminating the environment.
An article in 'Cigarette Litter' says “It is estimated that several trillion cigarette butts are littered worldwide every year. That's billions of cigarettes flicked, one at a time, on our sidewalks, beaches, nature trails, gardens, and other public places every single day. In fact, cigarettes are the most littered item in America and the world. Cigarette filters are made of cellulose acetate tow, NOT COTTON, and they can take decades to degrade. Not only does cigarette litter ruin even the most picturesque setting, but also the toxic residue in cigarette filters is damaging to the environment, and littered butts cause numerous fires every year, some of them fatal. CigaretteLitter.Org is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to running educational campaigns aimed at significantly reducing the amount of cigarette litter. Most people who litter their cigarettes either don't fully understand the consequences of their actions or they have rationalized the behavior. This web site and our other educational efforts are designed to get the facts out about cigarette litter to both smokers and non-smokers. Once people know the truth, they will be much more hesitant to unthinkingly flick their cigarette butts on the ground.”
The cigarette filters are designed to trap chemicals and carcinogens that would otherwise be inhaled into the lungs of the smoker.
But when these filters are discarded in the street, they ultimately find their way into the sewer systems, where these same chemicals will leak into the lakes, streams, rivers and oceans.
‘ButtsOut’ reports "cigarette butts can leak chemicals such as cadmium, lead and arsenic into our marine environment within an HOUR of contact with water.” Beyond pollution, ‘PRWatch.Org’ has learned that many fish, birds, whales and other marine life mistake the filters for food and ingest them.
Not only poisonous, the cigarettes butts can cause deadly blockages in the intestinal tracts of these creatures.
Filters have even been found in the stomachs of dogs, cats and squirrels! Deer actually like the taste of filters and pose a threat to drivers when they wander onto the highway grazing for discarded butts.
Many smoking parents don’t realize that if their toddlers eat more than three butts from an ashtray it can be fatal. Littered cigarettes are also a leading cause of house and forest fires every year, costing many lives and billions of dollars.
Cigarette butts are POISONOUS.
We can't flick them out into the world any longer without considering the serious consequences. We can't be selfish and look away.
Ignorance is not an acceptable excuse.
But what can I do...?
(stay tuned to find out)