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Portland Butt Hunt, April 19

No, this is not an MTV-sponsored EnviroMoms Gone Wild event (darn it). It has to do with those nasty, toxic types of butts you see near every bus stop -- cigarette butts. I heard about this event over at Portland Sunshine, where she makes a very good point:

"If I were standing at a bus stop or browsing at the farmer's market finishing my tall-nonfat-no-water-chai-latte and then as I finished I tossed the empty cup onto the street and stepped on it, I think anyone and everyone that saw me do that would call me out on it and make me pick it up."

So why is it acceptable to toss cigarette butts on the street or in the river or wherever it happens to be convenient? Hopefully the Portland Butt Hunt will help raise awareness and curb the flick-it habits of some smokers. Check out some stats from the Butt Web site:

  • Globally, over 2 billion butts are littered per day ; butts are the most littered item in the US and in the world
  • Cigarette butts are not made of biodegradable cotton, they are made of plastic cellulose acetate and under ideal conditions they can still take up to 12 years to break down 
  • Butts can release chemicals such as cadmium, lead and arsenic into our marine environment within an hour of contact with the water
  • Plastic pieces from butts are often mistaken for food and have been found in the stomachs of fish, birds, whales and other marine life
  • When butts are littered on sidewalks and streets, rain pushes them into storm drains which flow into the rivers, bays, lagoons and oceans - think of all the rain we get in Portland...
  • Litter in waterways degrades water quality, wildlife habitat and the recreational enjoyment of rivers, bays and beaches
  • Nicotine is lethal to fish and other sea life

If you want to participate in the butt clean-up effort on April 19, sign-up online. It's one of the many programs that SOLV (in conjunction with Leadership Portland) will be coordinating on Earth Day. The event will take place from 9am-1pm, starting at 701 SW 6th Ave. in downtown Portland.

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