Walk to Help End the Sale of Single-Use Filter Cigarettes & E-Cigarettes
Led By Joyce Bialik, Member Manhattan Solid Waste Advisory Board
The New York State legislature has a bill to end the sale of single use filter cigarettes and e-cigarettes (S1278, A4308). Our objective is to publicize the environmental and health hazards from the street disposal of used tobacco products which contain plastics and toxins by walking in Washington Heights and picking up cigarette and vape litter. The United Nations and World Health Organization, joining forces in a global campaign to widely broadcast the problem, write “Globally, more than six trillion cigarettes are produced annually, each containing filters, or butts, that are mainly composed of microplastics known as cellulose acetate fibres…When ingested, the hazardous chemicals in microplastics cause long-term mortality in marine life, including birds, fish, mammals, plants and reptiles.”
Our walk will be conducted in partnership with Riverkeeper as part of their annual sweep campaign. Since tobacco waste begins on the streets of our city (where most smokers toss their cigarettes) we will begin our walk on a city street and proceed to the New York Presbyterian Hospital complex, where we plan to engage an employee of the hospital in a conversation about health hazards from butts and vape waste. At noon, the leader will collect participants’ butts and vape waste, and count and weigh the total waste. The butts will be sent to Terracycle for recycling into benches. If participants wish to continue collecting until 1 pm the leader will give them labels to use for mailing their butts to Terracycle.
To pick up the butts and vape waste we ask participants to bring gloves, chopsticks, or a grabber. We will provide bags for collecting the waste. Participants should wear a mask. They are welcome to post their walk and the items they retrieve on social media. We recommend that participants carry water.
The A, C, and # 1 trains go to 168th Street and Broadway. The start block, 165th street, is 3 blocks to the south of the subway exit on the west side of Broadway. We will be walking downhill on 165th Street for two avenue blocks. It is wheelchair accessible. Those in a wheelchair can participate in collecting butts and vape waste using a grabber.
RSVP is required and capacity is limited. Meeting location, ending location, and directions will be provided via email before walk date.