This mail came in from regular reader Beau Ewan. The project is on Maui, but the problem is worldwide:
"A former 5th grade student of mine, Teak McAfee, approached me about wanting to rid Maui’s beaches of cigarette butts, which are a dangerous threat to Maui’s delicate coastal habitat. Together, we’ve been building this website, and Teak wants to continue to lobby for this cause until there is a reduction of cigarette butts on our beaches. Her first course of action is to get as many signatures as possible on her online petition. If you support her cause, please sign the petition and spread the word."
Here's Teak's mission statement: "Maui’s coastline and marine life continue to face alarming destruction from the careless littering of cigarette butts on our prized beaches; especially since the 2006 statewide indoor smoking ban brought smokers out of the restaurants and onto our once pristine beaches. Please help us in saving our exclusive beaches and precious marine creatures that continue to suffer from this growing problem."
Here's a link to Teak's BOMB website: http://www.buttsoffmauisbeaches.com. To sign her petition, go here: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/buttsoffmauisbeaches/index.html
Some facts about cigarette butts and beaches:
• Cigarette butts are the most littered item in the world.
• Over two billion cigarette butts get tossed everyday. That's an average of two cigarette butts daily from each of earth's 1.2 billion smokers.
• At beach cleanups, cigarette butts are the most common form of trash found (typically accounting for one in every five items collected).
• The cigarette filter was designed to trap the toxic chemicals in the cigarette smoke from entering the smoker's body. When submerged in water, the toxic chemicals trapped in the filter leak out into aquatic ecosystems, threatening the quality of the water and many forms of aquatic life.
• Cigarette butts may seem small, but with an estimated 4.5 trillion butts (worldwide) littered every year, the toxic chemicals add up!
• Over 99% of cigarettes are now smoked outside.
• 18% of all litter dropped to the ground is washed into streams, rivers, lakes and the ocean by storm water runoff. Cigarette butts, are little and lightweight and are the first to get carried away into our waterways.
• Studies indicate that since we have enacted indoor smoking bans, more cigarette butts are being tossed directly into the environment. Unfortunately, this means that ecosystems have a higher chance of being affected by cigarette butts. Biologists have found butts in the stomachs of young birds, sea turtles and other marine creatures.
THE DANGEROUS CHEMICALS MARINE CREATURE ARE EXPOSED TO BY DIGESTING CIGARETTE BUTTS INCLUDE:
Benzo[a]pyrene: found in coal tar and cigarette smoke and it is one of the most potent cancer causing chemical in the world.
Arsenic: Deadly poison that causes diarrhea, cramps, anemia, paralysis and malignant skin tumors. It is used in pesticides.
Acetone: It's one of the active ingredients in nail polish remover.
Lead: Lead poisoning stunts growth, causes vomiting, and causes brain damage.
Formaldehyde: causes cancer, can damage lungs, skin, and digestive systems. Embalmers use it to preserve dead bodies.
Toluene: highly toxic, commonly use as an ingredient in paint thinner.
Butane: highly flammable butane is one of the key components in gasoline.
Cadmium: cause damage to the liver, kidneys and brain, and stays in the body for years.
Ammonia: causes individuals to absorb more nicotine, keeping them hooked on smoking.
Benzene: found in pesticides and gasoline inadvertently