Thought plastic bottles or shopping bags were the biggest source of trash pollution in our seas and oceans and on our beaches? Discarded cigarette butts outnumber both of these combined.

cigarette on beach

If you enjoy a quiet smoke on board, that’s your business. Though you probably already exercise good practice such as puffing away downwind and refraining from lighting up below deck, the smoking police don’t yet have the power to nail a “no smoking” sign to your mast.

When it comes to discarding those cigarette butts, though, tossing them over the side is not an option that should even be considered.

Ocean Conservancy found that cigarette butts topped the list of trash collected, at 2,412,151 units. That’s more than plastic bottles (1,569,135) and shopping bags (757,523) combined. Cigarette filters contain harmful plastics, but also release arsenic, lead and various other poisons from the tobacco smoke into the water… and ultimately back onto our dinner tables.

There are simple solutions available, in the form of reusable ashtray pouches such as these (and others – do browse, we can’t recommend one over another… unless a particular brand gives us some money to do so 🙂 ). Or you could, as we’ve seen, clip the end and keep the butt in your pocket until you find a suitable place to dispose of it. The downside of this being that both your shorts/jacket and your butt are going to get rather smelly in the interim…

One thought on “Environment: keep your butt out of the water…

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