Experts are doing their best to find solutions to the excessive amount of cigarette butts on beaches as Cigarette Butts are not only gross but can harm wildlife. While small, cigarette butts cause big problems for the ocean. The filters are made of plastic and absorb the cigarette’s chemicals. According to the American Lung Association, some of those chemicals include arsenic and nicotine. Haifley says marine animals can mistake them for food and the butts can also leach those chemicals into the water.

As the marine layer dissolves at Cowell Beach in Santa Cruz, about 50 people search the sand for cigarette butts. This beach is non-smoking, but these volunteers will find plenty.

Volunteers didn’t just clean up. They replaced the cigarette butts with artwork; three-foot handmade cigarette replicas. Some of the messages on them read “toxic waste” or “bad for your health, bad for the planet.”

In just two hours at Cowell Beach, volunteers ended up collecting more than 500 cigarette butts.

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