Not-So-Fun Pollution Facts

Worldwide, smokers toss at least 4.5 trillion cigarette butts each year. Cigarette butts are the most littered item in the world. Cigarette butts are a danger to wildlife and have been found in the stomachs of fish and birds and other marine animals. Cigarette butts contain concentrated toxic chemicals and (acetate) plastic that is NOT biodegradable. (www.cigarettelitter.org or www.litterbutt.com for more info)

• Used oil is the single largest source (over 40%) of oil pollution in the U.S. harbor and water ways, at 385 million gallons per year, Americans carelessly dispose of 35 times more oil than was spilled in the entire Valdez oil spill. At least half of the amount is disposed of by do-it-yourselfers who change their own oil and disposed of it improperly

• One gallon of used oil can create an eight-acre slick on surface water, threatening fish, waterfowl and other aquatic life. Used oil contains toxic chemicals and heavy metals which cause severe pollution and can kill the micro-organism at the base of the marine food chain.

• Massachusetts law requires retailers to take back used oil, as long as it is accompanied by a receipt. In addition, used oil can be turned in at community oil recycling centers, or on household hazardous waste collection days. Some service stations will accept used oil without a receipt.

• Ethylene glycol, the major component of antifreeze is poisonous in concentrated form to people, fish, birds and pets. In addition to ethylene glycol, used antifreeze contains heavy metal contaminants it picks up from the engine during use. Save antifreeze for household hazardous waste collection day.

• Soap suds from washing your car, rinse water from painting, pet waste, pesticides, plastics and yard waste can all cause environmental problems when disposed of in a storm drains.


US Lake Facts:

• Agricultural runoff, sewage treatment plants, and urban runoff are the leading sources of pollution.

• There are 41 million acres of lakes and reservoirs in the U.S.

• There are approximately 100,000 lakes larger than 100 acres in the U.S. excluding Alaska, which has several million.

• Beaches, rivers and lakes are the number one vacation choice for Americans, helping to support a flourishing recreation and tourism industry. Each year, Americans take over 1.8 billion trips to go fishing, swimming, boating, or to just relax around favorite water destinations.

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