Someone, not very long ago enlightened me about cigarette butts and how they end up in our water system.
Take that in for a minute. I mean really think about that little tidbit of information. How utterly disgusting is that knowledge? It is beyond gross, and you’re talking to somebody who used to smoke. In fact, if I wasn’t sure it would kill me I would still smoke. I loved smoking. Totally loved it. But it will certainly kill me and I have a lot of shit I want to get done in this lifetime, so it had to go.
I hadn’t even given the hundreds of thousands of cigarette butts I’ve seen strewn across city streets in my lifetime a second thought. I mean I hadn’t even wondered where they went after they were tossed to the curb. But it makes complete sense that all the ones that don’t get picked up by street sweepers end up going down sewers into the water system. As you know I don’t work for the water sanitation department, so I don’t know how the water is broken up. Meaning I don’t know where sewer water goes, or toilet water, or where my dishwasher/washing machine grey water ends up. I also have zero clue as to what happens to it when it gets to where it’s going, and what does it become. Does it run out into our water streams such as lakes, rivers and oceans? Does it go into a filtration plant and get cleaned, processed and sent back into our drinking water? Disgusting if it does. I really and truly have no idea where it goes. But I do know one thing for certain, and this I think we all know to be true, is that cigarette butts are not biodegradable, nor are they recyclable. And now I also know this. 4.5 trillion cigarette butts are thrown out globally each and every year. Yes I said TRILLION. Shit. That’s way higher than I would have thought and seriously makes me go “hmmm” as to what can be done to change this. Add insult to injury, David Suzuki reports that there may be as many as 60 known carcinogens in the butts themselves, and that it’s not uncommon for these to end up in the stomach of sea turtles and other innocent water critters.
People. This is NOT GOOD. We need to take the cigarette butt thing to heart and implement change.
First I propose that all businesses, office towers, malls anywhere that people go, work, take breaks and therefore smoke outside the buildings install cigarette disposal systems large enough to hold a large quantity.
Second this should be a bylaw, and any office tower, land owner i.e people who own malls etc, etc, who don’t have them at every single entrance, or door where people congregate to light up get fined if cigarette butts are found.
Third I suggest in the same way we have trash bins at bus shelters we should also have giant ashtrays. Everywhere there is a public city trash bin there should also be stand alone cigarette disposal bins. This will also create jobs, because like meter maids, we would now have cigarette butt whistle blowers. It would clean up the streets, it would assist in cleaning up our water and make money for the city for those companies who don’t comply. Seems like a win win for all and good start to a very serious problem.