No Butts About It
Cigarette butts are the most littered item in Oklahoma City. About 665,500 cigarettes end up on the ground EVERY DAY. Although each cigarette butt is small, the combined effect of thousands leads to severely polluted groundwater, damaged property values, unsightly public spaces (many of which are frequented by children) and a decrease in the overall health and wellbeing of our citizens.
The cost of littering cigarettes is high and our residents and businesses are paying the bill. Additional maintenance is needed to pick up the litter. There is a decline in tourism, foot traffic, and business and housing development when an area is heavily littered. Recreational areas that are unclean experience a decrease in wildlife and are unsafe for small children and pets who may pick up the cigarette butts and ingest them. Most people believe cigarette butts are biodegradable but that is not true. In fact, they are 95% plastic and take many years to decompose. They also contain poisons like nicotine, arsenic, cadmium (battery acid) and ammonia which are leached into the environment when the cigarette is exposed to water. There is approximately 9 to 30mg of poisonous materials in a cigarette, and five cigarettes fall on the ground per day for every one of the 133,100 smokers in Oklahoma City. That is the equivalent of pouring 5.5 gallons of poisonous materials directly into our city’s environment every day.
OKC Beautiful hopes to reduce the amount of littered cigarette butts by distributing free pocket ashtrays, putting receptacles downtown and raising awareness of the issue through signage, seminars and media.
This program is sponsored by Chesapeake Energy, the UPS Foundation and Keep America Beautiful.
Would you like to help?
We need concerned citizens to conduct scans of local parks to help us ascertain the current amount of cigarette litter. This will helps us figure out where to focus our resources. We also need volunteers to conduct cleanups and to volunteer for various informational booths at events to help us raise awareness.
If you are interested in helping, please fill out the form below. Thank you!