Cigarette butts are a common sight in the streets, parks and beaches around the City of Vancouver. They have become a socially acceptable litter, that are often washed away by the rain where they remain out of sight and consequently out of mind.
But those cigarette butts are making their way into local water ways and often into the ocean, where they do not decompose and put local marine life at risk.
The filter of a cigarette is a material called cellulose acetate, a plastic fiber that does not decompose but instead slowly breaks down into smaller plastic particles.
Marine life often mistakes these plastic pieces for food, which can have devastating affects such as acute injuries from blockage or a false sense of being full.