Cigarette Butt Waste Dominates British Columbia Coastlines – New Study

Source: Phys.org/University of British Columbia

Photo: Brian Yurasits/The TerraMar Project

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Plastic waste—particularly from smoking– still dominates litter collected from B.C. coastlines, a recent study from the University of British Columbia has found.

UBC researchers analysed data from 1,226 voluntary cleanups organized by the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup (GCSC), a conservation initiative of the Vancouver Aquarium and WWF-Canada, along the coast of B.C. between 2013 and 2016.

“We found that generally 80 to 90 per cent of the  that’s being collected is still plastic waste,” said Cassandra Konecny, co-author of the study and master’s student in the department of zoology and Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries at UBC. “We also found that while the amount of trash being collected didn’t vary much over time, the type of litter varied by region.”

The waste items were grouped into categories by source – smoking, recreation, fishing, dumping and hygiene products – and then sorted by region from the north coast of B.C. down to the southern Strait of Georgia. The most common litter items in B.C. include cigarettes and filters, foam pieces, plastic pieces and food wrappers and containers.

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Photo: Brian Yurasits/The TerraMar Project