Most people probably know about the health concerns related to smoking, but they may not know that cigarette butts are the most littered item in the nation, and they're more than just an eye sore.
This toxic litter is mostly made of plastic and does not biodegrade when thrown on the ground, putting wildlife in danger and wreaking havoc on U.S. waterways, parks, beaches and roadways.
Additionally, cigarette butts contain toxic chemicals that can leach into soil, and chemicals that are poisonous to wildlife and could contaminate water sources. They can be very costly to local communities in terms of clean up and disposal.
On Earth Day, April 22, more than a billion people in 180 countries around the world will commit to making the world a better place through environmental protection. In light of Earth Day, the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics and the country's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to tobacco control, The Legacy Foundation, have joined forces on the website www.rethinkbutts.org to raise awareness about the effects of cigarette butt litter on the environment.
Earth Day is a day to celebrate the planet and for everyone to make a commitment to do their best to protect it, whether it's through recycling, planting a tree, driving less or making sure cigarette butts end up extinguished and in the trash and not in the places we live, work and play.
Consider making a commitment to the planet this Earth Day. I know I will.
Glenn Pareira for the
North Country Healthy Heart Network