While on my morning trash collection at the cul-de-sac leading to Moonlight beach in Encintas from the corner of 3rd and C Street, I collected approximately 2-Lbs. of assorted garbage following this weekends BroAm Surf Competition and Music Festival. Of which, I collected an astounding 124 CIGARETTE BUTTS in a one block area.
As a former smoker in the 70's & 80's, I was as guilty as the next smoker when it came to tossing a butt out the window of my car or stubbing a cigarette out on the ground as I stood outside to have a smoke. Like thousands of other smokers, I didn't think twice about leaving a trail of cigarette litter behind me, but had I known how my actions negatively affected our environment, I would have been much more careful.
In those days, it was not only "OK" to kill ourselves, but to unknowingly kill others close to us with second hand smoke. I smoked for nearly 7 years before wisely choosing another path. Quitting wasn't easy, but well worth the improved lung capacity, good health, monetary savings and ultimate reversal of a fatal addiction that was out to kill me and anybody close to me.
Now, when I walk in the Village of Encinitas with my wife, we frequently hold our collective breath in order to avoid inhaling the clouds of smoke mindlessly exhaled by the hordes of future cancer patients lining the streets. Once finished with their tasty Cigs, they flick their butts aimlessly without regard, letting them fall where they may.
The Anatomy of a Cigarette Butt
The Core of most cigarette filters--the part that looks like cotton, is actually a form of plastic called cellulose acetate. By itself, cellulose acetate is very slow to degrade in our environment. Depending on the conditions of the area the cigarette butt is discarded, it can take 18 months to 10 years for a filter to decompose. But that's not the worst of it. Used cigarette filters are full of toxins known as tar, and those chemicals leach into the ground and waterways, damaging living organisms. And, most filters are discarded with bits of tobacco still attached to them, further polluting our environment with nicotine.
ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING ABOUT CIGARETTES CAN THREATEN LIFE ON OUR BELOVED PLANET! They pollute the ground we walk on and the air we breathe. And if we smoke, cigarettes poison us slowly, stealing our quality of life - long before they kills us.
What's it going to take to reverse this catastrophic habit and the subsequent fallout that is killing us all?