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Groups work to remove cigarette butts, litter from Sudbury's Junction Creek

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Now that spring is here, there’s a whole lot of litter and garbage visible, which had been partially buried under the snow during the winter.

In Sudbury, a weekend cleanup blitz is happening along Sudbury’s Junction Creek -- and there’s one particular piece of litter that has volunteers lit up to pick up.

According to environmentalist Emma Meadows, cigarette butts are particularly harmful.

“They’re all over the place,” Meadows said.

“There’s about 4.5 trillion that are littering the environment globally.”

Meadows is with the cigarette butts reduction program, Small Butts, Big Problem, which is supported by the global conservation organization Ocean Wise.

“(Cigarette butts) are actually made of plastics,” she said.

In Sudbury, a weekend cleanup blitz is happening along Sudbury’s Junction Creek -- and there’s one particular piece of litter that has volunteers lit up to pick up: cigarette butts. (Photo from video)

“They’re a form of plastics pollution and when people just litter them on the ground, they release chemicals and toxins and micro-plastics that end up in our waterways. They get eaten by wildlife and then eventually they make their way into humans.”

Meadows is working alongside the Junction Creek stewardship committee to reduce the plastic harming local waterways.

The committee conducted a storm-water initiative during the past two years where filters were installed on 34 catch basins in six Sudbury neighbourhoods.

The group said the project prevented almost 5,000 pieces of litter from entering the storm system -- and cigarette butts made up 40 per cent of that.

“The Earth is not our personal garbage can,” Meadows said.

“If we take care of the earth it will take care of us. So let’s put waste in its place and definitely not in the environment.”

The cleanup starts on Saturday at 1 p.m. in the parking lot behind the Flour Mill silos.

Small Butts, Big Problems will be handing out free small reusable pocket ashtrays for all volunteers helping at Saturday’s cleanup.

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