By Jim Kinney
Cigarette butts — either causally flicked aside or dumped on the ground from a full ashtray — that end up on streets or parking lots eventually wash into storm drains where they flow to streams and rivers where they pose a danger to birds, fish and other animals.
“Fish mistake cigarette butts for food. Birds mistake butts for food,” said Patty Gambarini, principal environmental planner at Pioneer Valley Planning Commission which convenes and does administrative work for the Watershed Committee.
And of course, all the things that make cigarettes bad for people — nicotine and other substances — make them bad for wildlife, Gambarini said.
“We are still seeing a lot of cigarette butts,” she said. ” People who still smoke ... just flick it away and don’t think of it as litter.”