Disheartening photo of bird with cigarette in mouth goes viral

While in recent years plastic straws have been blamed for polluting the world’s oceans, there’s something else we should focus our attention on: cigarette butts.

A 2018 report from the Ocean Conservancy states that the most collected item during their annual worldwide beach cleanup was the often carelessly discarded cigarette butt.

Several new disturbing photos shared by a wildlife photographer show how they impact wildlife.

Karen Mason, a Florida resident who goes by Karen Catbird on Facebook, recently shared a disheartening photo of a black skimmer bird feeding a chick a cigarette butt.

The photo was taken at St. Pete Beach in Florida.

If you smoke, please don’t leave your butts behind

Posted by Karen Catbird on Monday, June 24, 2019

Karen shared another photo a few days later of a chick with the butt of a cigarette in its mouth. Although it’s unclear if it’s the same baby bird.

this Skimmer chick was offered a cigarette butt by it’s parent. It’s time we cleaned up our beaches and stopped treating them like one giant ash tray. #nobuttsforbabies

Posted by Karen Catbird on Wednesday, June 26, 2019

The images are discouraging, especially when it’s a man-made issue.

“It’s time we cleaned up our beaches and stopped treating them like one giant ash tray,” Karen wrote on Facebook.

Many agreed, and while some beaches ban smoking, cigarette butts still remain among the top 10 items collected during beach cleanups.

In 2017, the Ocean Conservancy reported that 2.4 million butts were collected, making it the top item collected.

Karen hopes that these photos will raise awareness. There are people out there who believe cigarettes aren’t harmful to the environment because they are paper, so they will dissolve, but that is not the case.

Wildlife can get to them before they break down and when they end up in our water, the toxic chemicals pose a threat to sea life.

Share this post to warn others about the harm cigarette butts cause.

Some people think they’re no problem because they’ll eventually break down, but that’s not the case!

Besides cigarette butts littered all over a beach being unsightly, there’s dangerous to wildlife.