Updated 17 August 2022 – Original Post 21 December 2019
At 1818 meters above sea level on a stunning mountain top where people come to watch the sunrise creeping out above the clouds, cigarette butts in insane amounts are left polluting this breathtaking site. This means that the ground and rainwater which then runs down the valleys, to our gardens, to crops, to nature, the sea, rivers, lakes and into our drinking water is also polluted by this careless action.
I went to admire the sunrise on this early morning and admire it I did. It was magical to see the burning light of the sun emerge above the clouds, to witness the incredible power of golden energy piercing the darkness and humidity of the early morning as the night crept away into day. Yet there was definitely a saddening shadow cast on the moment, total disappointment ushering away the natural love and awe, for it was impossible to ignore the sheer thoughtlessness of my fellows.
It’s no wonder. Most people don’t realise how cigarette butts go on to pollute our ground and water, nor that the plastic it is made out of can remain in nature almost indefinitely. Or even that it finishes in the sea most often, killing fish and birds and ending up directly in our food chain. We are basically eating cigarette butts and other toxic plastic, in broken down form, which is obviously highly disturbing.
Most people don’t think much more about something after throwing it away, and this needs to change. If we want to protect ourselves and in turn the nature which makes our lives possible we need to start teaching ourselves to think about the extent of the processes involved in our consumption and waste creation. Nobody else will do it for us, so I’m not sure what we are waiting for.
If you are a smoker and throw your ends on the floor when you are done, please stop immediately. Keep smoking if you really want to (that’s another story for another day) just stop polluting your environment further. Dot it out and find a bin, or invest in a pocket ashtray, take it with you and dispose at home. If you feel like it stinks, welcome, it does and so does smoking anyway, nothing new and now you get to experience yourself how others do.
If you don’t smoke, you do probably know a smoker. Whether it is a friend, family member, colleague or acquaintance. You could make it your mission to compassionately tell them the facts, very kindly, that just one cig butt on the ground is equal to five hundred litres of our water being polluted.
Someone with a ten-a-day habit, who throws on the ground, is polluting five thousand litres of water daily, all on their own! Most people would be quite rightly horrified to learn that they were having this much negative impact when it is such a simple thing to change. So why not tell them?!