Tobacco and the Environment (infographic)
About 65% of all cigarettes will be littered, making it the most littered item in the world. They are also one of the worst kinds of litter, with plastic filters that don’t degrade and heavy metals that are toxic to wildlife.
Cigarette butts frequently leak into the San Francisco water supply and are extremely hazardous for marine life and animals that drink the water. It costs the City of San Francisco about $6 to $11 million to clean up cigarette butts each year.
Newer policies and community efforts, however, have been shown to reduce cigarette butt litter by up to 45% on local beaches and parks, which means less poisoned water and sick animals.
The Surfrider Foundation is a national organization dedicated to keeping the coasts clean. We work closely with the Bay Area branch, which has donated ashtrays for our campus and frequently attends USF events to help educate the community.
The SF Environment, a department of the county government, helps us educate and raise awareness of the environmental impact of cigarettes.
1. Novotny, Thomas E., et al. “Cigarettes Butts and the Case for an Environmental Policy on Hazardous Cigarette Waste.” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Molecular Diversity Preservation International (MDPI), 20 May 2009.
2. Slaughter, Elli, et al. “Toxicity of Cigarette Butts, and Their Chemical Components, to Marine and Freshwater Fish.” Tobacco Control, BMJ Publishing Group Ltd, 1 May 2011.
3. Bay City News Service. “Program Aims to Reduce Cigarette Butt Litter in SF Beaches, Streets.” SFGate, Bay City News, 30 June 2017.
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