Did you know that each cigarette contains more than 3,900 chemicals? Cigarette butts contain the toxic residue of these chemicals. In clean-up events worldwide, the number one item of litter is cigarette butts. There are more butts thrown into the environment than any other single item. Today we had our first Kids Marine Science class and we choose to focus on this BIG problem.
Smokers would prefer to think that tossing their butts out the window or crushing them underfoot is a harmless action, maybe it’s ignorance into disbelieving that such a small item could cause any damage at all. One who smokes a pack a day can potentially litter the earth by the mindless flick of their 20 butts per day, 7,300 items per year. In fact, over 4.5 TRILLION toxic, non-biodegradable cigarette butts are tossed into the environment annually by smokers.
Now you wonder why we are trying to teach these kids to hopefully not start smoking, but who are we to say how they will treat their own bodies, but we CAN make them Aware to be more cautious with protecting the future and saving the ocean and its inhabitants.
Smokers throw their cigarette butts everywhere. They flick them onto sidewalks. They crush them on lawns. They toss them into rivers and streams, or directly into the ocean while boating. They crush them into the sand while they lay on the beaches. People even empty their auto ashtrays on the streets. 2 days ago I was walking along the beach at 6 am and was surprised with the amount of cigarette butts I saw.
In the waterways and oceans of our earth, fish and marine life spend most of their time in search of food. What happens if a turtle swallows a cigarette butt? The chemical toxins from the filter can kill it within a few hours, or the non-biodegradable cellulose filter will most likely settles in the stomach, blocking the digestive system. Turtles who ingest the butts will feel “full,” because the butts won’t dissolve or pass through the tiny stomach. The turtle will stop eating, and actually die of starvation, with a stomach “full” with the bulk of that cigarette butt. But the damage doesn’t stop there. Upon the turtle’s death and decomposition the butt (or fragments thereof) is released back into the environment to be consumed by the next hungry organism, creating a cycle of death until the persistent materials finally break down, up to a decade later.
Today we heard in class that the average of 10 cigarette butts kills a big sea turtle. After some video watching and discussions we made posters to pass the message. Next Saturday (June 7th) we will go to the beach, display our posters and do our best to clear the beach from these gross little Killers!
Are you interested to join our Science team? Every Saturday from 9 to 11 at Rich Coast Diving. (c1000 donation fee)
Learn about the ocean and MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
featured image: butt-busters.com