The good.

On Saturday, May 2nd the 14th annual Petaluma River Cleanup took place. On a rainy Saturday morning, approximately 100 people met at the Petaluma Marina parking lot. After a small breakfast, they walked, paddled and drove to places along the Petaluma River and hauled trash and recyclables back to the Marina parking lot. By the end of the day, the volunteers had hauled almost ten cubic yards of debris from the watershed.

The butts and the ugly.

That same night, an unknown number of patrons of downtown Petaluma bars formed in groups outside the bars and as they talked about life tossed hundreds of cigarette butts onto the streets and sidewalks of Petaluma. It rained that night, washing many of the butts into the Petaluma River.

Cigarette filters pose a threat to wildlife that mistake filters for food and ingest them. Used cigarette filters are full of toxic chemicals, tar for example, and those chemicals leach into the ground and waterways, damaging living organisms that contact them. Also, since most filters are discarded with bits of tobacco still attached, cigarette butts further pollute our environment with nicotine.

Smokers, when you finish your cigarette, put it out and put the butt in the trash. Please, don’t throw butts into the street anymore.

If cigarette smokers started properly disposing of their butts, there would be a lot less litter. How much less litter? “It’s estimated that trillions of filters, filled with toxic chemicals from tobacco, make their way into our environment as discarded waste yearly.” (Source: Cigarette Litter and How it Affects Us; http://quitsmoking.about.com/od/cigaretteingredients/a/ciglitter.htm )

Please, if you smoke cigarettes, make a promise to properly dispose of your cigarette butts.

Please, if you smoke cigarettes, try and convince as many of your fellow smokers as you can to properly dispose of their cigarette butts.

And if you don’t smoke, do whatever you can to keep butts from littering our beaches, rivers, sidewalks, streets and parks.

Butt wait, there’s more-