The premise was simple: I'd read that cigarette butts are plastic, cellulose acetate, and that they don't break down like natural fibers. So I wanted to see if it was true. My experiment began on August 28, 2010, with a freshly scavenged cigarette butt. I plunked it into a bucket of fresh water to simulate it being tossed into a gutter and carried to a nearby river or stream.
Three weeks later, November 26, it still looked mostly the same - tar stains and all.
|Day 99 - December 4|
Moving on through Hannukah, my early-December birthday, and finally Christmas, we come to today, December 30, 2010:
|Day 125 - Ready for the closeup|
Cigarette butts are a scourge. They are everywhere. In gutters, playgrounds, plantings, parks. Flicked out of car windows, stubbed out at the beach. I've recovered some 2,000 from Bay View. Danielle Richardet in North Carolina has collected over 12,000! With no sign of stopping.
They're not just ugly, they're poison. One used cigarette butt in two gallons of water is enough to kill the low-order life in that water. The world produces 5.5 trillion cigarettes each year. If only 10% of those were littered, that's still 550 billion -- 550,000,000,000 -- cigarette butts polluting our world. Each year. Here's a handy list of just a few of those pollutants:
|Pick any, they're all good|
But don't worry, it's got plenty of company.