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If you have noticed cigarette butts littered around your neighborhood and public spaces, you are not alone! In last month’s article we shared that local Clean Up Leaders collected 5 buckets full of trash in Downtown Watsonville during their neighborhood cleanup and the item they found the most of were cigarette butts.
Cigarette butts can take up to 12 months to break down in fresh water bodies like our wetlands and up to five years in salt water. However, like all other plastic materials, cigarette filters never truly biodegrade. They break up into smaller pieces, known as microplastics, and leach nicotine, arsenic, lead and other heavy metals/toxic chemicals in the surrounding ecosystem, which can inhibit plant growth, pollute water, and pose a hazard to wildlife.
Here’s how you can help:1. If you or someone you know smokes, make sure they know cigarette butts should be properly disposed of.2. Host your own cleanup using materials provided by the city! Contact: Leonardo Cruz (831) 515-8306 or via email3. Participate in Coastal Cleanup Day on September 18th.