John on Press Herald Post


The International Coastal Cleanup has become a big event worldwide (  Volunteers not only collect tons and tons and tons of trash from beaches and shore lands; they actually inventory the items they pick up.  Understanding where the trash comes from is the first step to stopping it at its source.

The single largest category of item collected every year: cigarette butts.  Millions and millions of cigarette butts.

It’s a big ocean.  Cigarette buts are small things.  You wouldn’t think there would be a significant impact from something so innocuous.

But, catch this news from Down Under.  A report from the Townsville Aquarium in Australia of “a green sea turtle that had died of nicotine poisoning after consuming 300 cigarette butts (presumably washed into the sea from storm water drains).”

Storm drains.  Someone walking down the street finishing a smoke, crushes the cigarette under his shoe and kicks it to the curb.  You’ve seen it.   Just a thoughtless habit.  But the next rain – into the storm drain and out to sea.

All pollution makes its way to the sea.

Poor turtle.  I tried Skoal chewing tobacco once – it made me green too.