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Cigarette Butt Litter Facts

  • It takes 12 years for a cigarette butt to break down. During this time, toxic chemicals such as lead, cadmium and arsenic are leached into soil and rivers.
  • The Central City Improvement District removes six thousand kilograms of cigarette butts each year to keep the Cape Town CBD clean.
  • Cigarette butts are among the top 10 list of marine polluters
  • Worldwide, cigarette butts are the most commonly collected items during cleanups
  • Whales, Fish, birds, and other sea creatures mistake cigarette butts for food and filters have been found in the stomachs of these animals
  • Discarded cigarette butts have been common culprits for fires in homes and forests. 1,000 lives are lost, and 3,000 people injured annually as a result of fires caused by cigarette butts.
  • Nearly 1 in 3 cigarette butts are littered.
  • Across the world, more than 4.5 trillion cigarette butts are littered annually, making them the most littered item.
  • If all the littered cigarette butts were lined up, they would cover 9 million square kilometres.