September 17, 2004  


Fish Donít Smoke and Other Rainy Season Reminders

By Judy Fulton

Summer is winding down and along with it the dry season. That means itís time again to start preparing for rain.

Remember, rainwater flows untreated into drains and then directly into the Bay. That means any material or trash left outside during the rainy season can end up polluting the environment by washing into drains.

Please do not throw your cigarette butts on the ground. Dispose of cigarettes butts properly. (Photo courtesy of Sharon Burns)

Look Around Your Work Area

So take a look around your work area. Have materials piled up outside that should be brought back in or covered? Are the catch basins full of debris or sediment and in need of cleaning? How is the general cleanliness of your area? Is there debris, litter, packing peanuts or cigarette butts waiting for the next rain to wash them down the drain?

Cigarette butts are a problem that we can readily do something about. During our annual stormwater evaluation we observed piles of cigarette butts left around buildingsósometimes just a few feet away from ash trays and butt cans. They are a threat to water quality and wildlife. Cigarette litter isnít a problem that goes away quickly eitheróit can take over 15 years for a filter to disintegrate.

Fish Donít Smoke

Cigarette filters have been found in the stomachs of fish, birds, whales and other marine creatures that mistake them for food. While being smoked, the cigarette filter absorbs hazardous compounds such as cadmium, arsenic and lead. Animals not only eat the filter, but ingest these toxic compounds as well.

Cigarette butts should be extinguished and placed in a trash receptacle, not on the ground. Your building manager can make sure that proper receptacles are available in outdoor smoking areas.

If you have questions about how to prepare your area for the rainy season, or if you need help with housekeeping arrangements, please contact Judy Fulton (Ext. 4538,  




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Last update Wednesday September 15, 2004 by Emily Ball