On Saturday my humans went to the cliff path to collect litter. I was a bit puzzled as to why they would want to collect litter – don’t they have enough in the bin already? No, said my Delray human, the litter is not for us. We are taking part in International Coastal Cleanup Day and by picking up litter along our coast we try tell people how bad it is if we throw things away that can end up in the sea. It can harm all the sea animals, and kill the fish and it looks really ugly on our beaches. Who wants to play on the beach and swim amongst rubbish?
I wanted to tell her that I don’t want to swim in the sea, or anywhere else, litter or no litter, but she was on a roll about the litter thing.
You see, Stripes, she said, people are more careful these days about plastic litter and bottles, but there are still a lot of people who just throw their cigarette butts anywhere. What is a cigarette butt, I asked. I have a furry butt, but I don’t throw it away.
Then Delray told me something I find really hard to believe. I understand there are a lot of things I don’t know, but you won’t believe this.
Delray said some people take leaves and dry them and then they roll them inside paper and then they set the leaves on fire and then they breathe in the smoke so it can go in their lungs. It’s called smoking a cigarette. Really???? You must be joking, I said. That’s the silliest thing I ever heard. No cat would ever do that! And certainly not a cool cat like me.
The point is, Delray continued, people can smoke if they want to, but some people are really careless with the filter bit that’s left over after they finish smoking the cigarette. They just throw them any place where they can get washed into the storm water and into the sea. The filters are made of a sort of plastic that doesn’t biodegrade and they are full of poisons like nicotine and tannins. These poisons in the filter leak out into the water and poison the fish. And anyway, the litter looks really bad.
So we picked up the litter and counted all the different kinds of litter, including the cigarette butts, to find out what are the most common litter items on our cliff path.
Then what, I asked.
Well, Delray said, we are starting a campaign asking people who smoke to please be more careful where they throw their cigarette butts. We ask them to rather put the butts in a bottle where they can easily be collected and thrown away in a bin.
Oh, I said, I know – NO BUTS, BOTTLE IT!