On Earth Day, April 22nd, more than a billion people in 180 countries around the world will commit to making the world a better place through environmental protection. Which is why the highly respected Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, and the country’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to tobacco control, The Legacy Foundation, have joined forces this month to increase awareness of the environmental threat posed by the most littered item in America, cigarette butts.
Regionally, the North Country Healthy Heart Network will also be promoting this awareness campaign. “We typically focus on other issues relating to tobacco” said Margot Gold, Executive Director, “but we feel that the environmental impacts of cigarette butt litter are so detrimental that we simply cannot ignore it.”
The campaign, located online at www.rethinkbutts.org, brings to the forefront some surprising facts about butt litter.
- Cigarette butts are the most littered item in the world; during the International Annual Coastal Cleanup in 2010, over 1 million cigarettes or cigarette filters – enough to fill 94,626 packs – were picked up along U.S. coastal and inland waterways.
- Littered cigarettes are more than an eyesore, plastic filters only biodegrade under extreme conditions; they threaten wildlife and are costly to clean up.
- Cigarettes butts contain cancer causing agents and other harmful chemicals that can leach into soil and waterways. These toxins can be dangerous to animals and young children who pick them up and eat them.
“Cigarette butts have a serious impact in the outdoors we create and our children explore,” said Dana Watts, Executive Director of the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, in a press release from the Legacy Foundation on April 9th. “Through this important partnership with Legacy, we hope to provide tangible and relevant public education about the issue, fostering healthier people, lands and waterways.”
The 7 Leave No Trace Principles are common knowledge amongst many outdoors enthusiasts. They are a set of basic practices which promote leaving Mother Nature the way you found it. “But these are not just for adventurers, these are principles we can all live by every day,” said Margot Gold, “principles such as ‘Leave What You Find’, ‘Respect Wildlife’, and ‘Be Considerate of Other Visitors’ can be applied to any situation, including the proper disposal of cigarette butts”.
The North Country Healthy Heart Network will continue to promote the “Rethink Butts” campaign, and encourage other individuals and groups do so as well.
For More Information
Contact: Margot Gold