Think It's Just One Butt On The Ground? To A Fish Or Bird It Can Be Deadly.
Help keep our waters clean... put your butt in the trash.
Captured by Audubon member Karen Mason, the image above is one in a series that shows a
mother bird feeding a cigarette butt to its baby. Audubon officials have noted that the image
provides proof for what scientists have long suspected—that wild birds mistake the pervasive and
harmful litter for food.
Littered cigarette butts typically wash with the next rainfall into storm drains, through pipes, and
out to nearby rivers, streams, and lakes. In our local waters, cigarette butts can be highly toxic to
fish and other animals. A single butt can contaminate between 500 and 1,000 liters of water with
compounds like nicotine and heavy metals, which can be devastating to fish populations. Even
worse, the filter is made of a non-biodegradable form of plastic called cellulose acetate, which
deteriorates and disperses as plastic microfibers.
The fix is simple. When you are done with your next smoke, extinguish the butt entirely and then
dispose of it properly in the trash.
For more information, check out this two-minute Canadian Broadcasting video: