by Kelly Rogge
The Kansas City Kansas Community College Blue Devils “kicked butt” recently by cleaning up cigarette debris around campus.
KCKCC participated in the Blue Devils Kick Butts Campaign April 23. Organized by the KCKCC Wellness Committee, 14 student, faculty and staff volunteers picked up cigarette butts and trash on campus. This is the first campus cleanup event that has been organized with Tobacco Free Kansas.
“I wanted to coordinate something during the week of Earth Day (April 22) to raise awareness of the dangers tobacco use has on the environment, not just what it does to the consumer and the dangers of secondhand and third-hand smoke as a result,” said Rob Crane, director of the KCKCC Health and Wellness Center. “Tobacco use is responsible for nearly one in five deaths in the United States. Because cigarette smoking and tobacco use are acquired behaviors − activities that people choose to do – smoking is the most preventable cause of death in our society.”
The amount of cigarette debris that volunteers collected was impressive. More than 6,390 cigarette butts, four empty cigarette packets, one broken lighter and a few match books were picked up. The butts represented approximately 300 packs (20 per pack) of cigarettes or 30 cartons. Crane said this was done in only a few hours and did not include the entire campus.
“We wanted to raise awareness and make people think about what they are doing to themselves, other people, wildlife and the environment,” he said of the event. “Cigarette butts contaminate our water sources, leach toxic chemicals and carcinogens into the environment and are poisonous to wildlife as well as our pets. They are also the number one littered item in the US. Water runoff from our campus drains directly in to the Kansas (Kaw) river. Tobacco smoke also contributes to outdoor air pollution and indoor air quality.”