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Littered cigarette butts as a source of nicotine in urban waters

Littered cigarette butts as a source of nicotine in urban waters
Amy L. Roder Green
, Anke Putschew
, Thomas Nehls
Technische Universitaet Berlin, Chair of Soil Conservation, Ernst-Reuter-Platz 1, 10587 Berlin, Germany
Technische Universitaet Berlin, Chair of Water Quality Control, Strasse des 17. Juni 135, 10623 Berlin, Germany
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Available online xxxx
Cigarette butts
Surface run-off
Urban waters
Drinking water contaminant
Urban litter
The effect of nicotine from littered cigarette butts on the quality of urban water resources has yet to be
investigated. This two-part study addresses the spatial variation, seasonal dynamics and average resi-
dence time of littered cigarette butts in public space, as well as the release of nicotine from cigarette butts
to run-off in urban areas during its residence time. Thereby, we tested two typical situations: release to
standing water in a puddle and release during alternating rainfall and drying. The study took place in
Berlin, Germany, a city which completely relies on its own water resources to meet its drinking water
demand. Nine typical sites located in a central district, each divided into 20 plots were studied during five
sampling periods between May 2012 and February 2013. The nicotine release from standardized ciga-
rette butts prepared with a smoking machine was examined in batch and rainfall experiments.
Littered cigarette butts are unevenly distributed among both sites and plots. The average butt concen-
tration was 2.7 m
(SD = 0.6 m
,N= 862); the maximum plot concentration was 48.8 butts m
. This
heterogeneity is caused by preferential littering (gastronomy, entrances, bus stops), redistribution
processes such as litter removal (gastronomy, shop owners), and the increased accumulation in plots
protected from mechanized street sweeping (tree pits, bicycle stands). No significant seasonal variation
of cigarette butt accumulation was observed. On average, cigarette butt accumulation is characterized by
a 6 days cadence due to the rhythm and effectiveness of street sweeping (mean weekly butt accumula-
tion rate = 0.18 m
; SD = 0.15 m
). Once the butt is exposed to standing water, elution of nicotine
occurs rapidly. Standardized butts released 7.3 mg g
nicotine in a batch experiment (equivalent to
2.5 mg L
), 50% of which occurred within the first 27 min. In the rainfall experiment, the cumulative nic-
otine release from fifteen consecutive precipitation events (each 1.4 mm) was 3.8 mg g
, with 47% dur-
ing the first event. According to these results, one cigarette butt may contaminate an amount of 1000 L
water to concentrations above the predicted no effect concentration (PNEC) of only 2.4 10
mg L
(Valcárcel et al., 2011). Given the continuous littering of cigarette butts, and the rapid release of nicotine,
cigarette butts are assessed to be a relevant threat to the quality of urban waters and consequently to
drinking water.
Ó2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
1. Introduction
One of the most common elements of urban litter, a cigarette
butt, contains a complex mixture of toxins, including the highly
water-soluble nicotine. Extremely addictive, nicotine is consumed
in massive amounts around the world: 20% of the population over
15 years of age smoke on average 16 cigarettes per day (Giovino
et al., 2012). With 73% of the world’s population over the age of
14 years (United Nations, online), worldwide an estimated 16 bil-
lion cigarettes are consumed daily. With an estimated urbanization
of 60% in 2030 (United Nations, online) about 10 billion cigarettes
will then be smoked in urban areas every day.
Cigarette butts are the most commonly littered item in urban
areas (Bator et al., 2011; Schultz et al., online), making up
22–46% of visible litter, as reported in numerous litter audits
worldwide (Schneider et al., 2011; Seco Pon et al., 2012;
Moriwaki et al., 2009; Schultz et al., online). Patel et al. (2013)
observed that in cities, 76% of cigarettes smoked in public were lit-
tered, rather than disposed in appropriate receptacles. The butts
are then transported by urban waters to other ecosystems such
as coastal areas, where they are consistently the most numerous
element of litter collected (International Costal Clean-up, 2013;
Ariza et al., 2008). The persistence of cigarette butt filters, made
of non-biodegradable cellulose acetate is a concern for wildlife
0022-1694/Ó2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Corresponding author. Tel.: +49 (0)30 314 73539; fax: +49 (0)30 314 23309.
E-mail address: (T. Nehls).
Journal of Hydrology xxx (2014) xxx–xxx
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Please cite this article in press as: Roder Green, A.L., et al. Littered cigarette butts as a source of nicotine in urban waters. J. Hydrol. (2014),
(Stanley et al., 1988). Cigarette butts are thus a concern in terms of
its environmental, public health, social, and economic conse-
quences (Marais and Armitage, 2004b; Pon et al., 2012; Schultz
et al., 2013; Schneider et al., 2011).
Cigarette butts are not evenly distributed in the urban environ-
ment. Distribution of butts is linked to the location of sales and
consumption. The highest concentrations in the US are associated
with bars, convenience stores, liquor stores, cafés, gas stations, gro-
cery stores, restaurants, and traffic signals (Marah and Novotny,
2011). A preference of cigarette smoking has been observed in con-
junction with alcohol, coffee, meals, and during breaks, (Van Gucht
et al., 2010). Cigarette butts are discarded at places of transition
from an outdoor to an indoor environment where smoking is not
tolerated, such as entrances to buildings, vehicles or public trans-
portation stations, where the authors found a cigarette butt con-
centration of 102 m
in one puddle (see Fig. 1). Non-smoking
legislation, in effect in Berlin since 2008, prohibits smoking in
the indoor workplace, inside public transit stations and platforms,
restaurants, and bars. Since then, it is more common to see an
accumulation of smokers outside of restaurant entrances and offi-
ces. This phenomenon may well have caused an increase of littered
cigarette butts to the urban environment.
The quality of urban run-off is linked to urban litter (Marais
et al., 2004a), which in turn is recognized as a major threat to
urban water quality (Heinzmann, 1998).
1.1. Nicotine toxicity
Cigarette butts contain a mixture of substances with toxic
effects to organisms, most notably heavy metals, polycyclic aro-
matic compounds, ethyl phenol, and nicotine (Micevska et al.,
2006; Moerman and Potts, 2011; Moriwaki et al., 2009). The
human toxicological and health effects of nicotine have been
extensively studied (Brc
ˇonji, 2005). Nicotine is easily
absorbed through the skin, lung alveoli, small intestine, and
urinary bladder. It passes easily through the placenta to the fetus.
Strong teratogenic and genotoxic effects have been observed. Nic-
otine is associated with cardiovascular disease and acts on the cen-
tral nervous system. Acute toxicity causes death due to paralysis of
respiratory muscles or respiratory failure. Nicotine is known to
cause liver damage in fish (Konar, 1970), and effects planarians
in a similar way as in mammals (Rawls et al., 2011). The effects
of chronic sub-lethal concentrations of nicotine and its metabolites
in the aquatic environment are not well understood. Based on the
EC50 for Daphnia of 0.2 mg L
(Savino and Tanabe, 1989), the cal-
culated value of the predicted no effect concentration (PNEC) for
nicotine is 2.4 10
mg L
(Valcárcel et al., 2011).
1.2. Nicotine in water resources
Nicotine, and its most important metabolite, cotinine, are
important emerging pollutants, widely detected in water resources
worldwide in studies of pharmaceutically active compounds
(Stuart et al., 2012; Benotti and Brownawell, 2007; Focazio et al.,
2008; Valcárcel et al., 2011). Littered cigarette butts have not been
examined to date as a source of nicotine in urban waters.
Nicotine has been in use as an insecticide since the 15th cen-
tury. Because of its toxicity to aquatic organisms, its application
has been severely limited in the US, Canada and Europe. Today, nic-
otine is on the toxic release inventory (TRI) in United States, thus
its release into the environment must be reported to state author-
ities (Environmental Protection Agency, 1996). The European
Union classifies tobacco waste as toxic and hazardous when the
nicotine content exceeds 0.5 mg g
dry weight (Civilini et al.,
1997). The nicotine content of cigarettes varies according to brand
and country of consumption. Between 1998 and 2005, the mean
concentration of nicotine in the tobacco rods sold by major manu-
facturers increased by 9% from 17.1 mg g
to 18.7 mg g
in the
USA (Connolly et al., 2007).
Nicotine has been identified as one of the three most significant
pharmaceuticals with regard to the potential eco-toxicological and
toxicological impacts of waste-water treatment plant (WWTP)
effluent (Muñoz et al., 2008). In an extensive study of emerging
pollutants in Madrid, Spain, nicotine was detected in all river
samples downstream from WWTP, with concentrations of up to
1.9 10
mg L
(Valcárcel et al., 2011). Leaking septic tanks have
been linked to nicotine concentrations of up to 8.1 10
mg L
UK groundwater (Stuart et al., 2012). Nicotine concentrations rang-
ing from 2.5 to 6 10
mg L
were observed in estuary water in
the US in the proximity of a WWTP (Benotti and Brownawell, 2007).
Nicotine is also found in drinking waters worldwide. An
international study in 30 cities reported an average nicotine
concentration of 1.9 10
mg L
(Boleda et al., 2011). In Madrid,
Spain, nicotine was detected in 3 of 5 of tap water samples at levels
higher than 4 10
mg L
reaching up to 1 10
mg L
(Valcárcel et al., 2011). In Miami, USA, concentrations of nicotine
of 3 10
mg L
have been observed, thus clearly above the
PNEC (National Research Council, 1977).
Even in bottled mineral water taken from pristine aquifers, far
from anthropogenic sources or sites of tobacco cultivation or
production, nicotine was detected in concentrations of up to
1.5 10
mg L
(Alonso et al., 2012).
It is important to understand sources, pathways and transfor-
mations of nicotine at the numerous natural and technical urban
water interfaces (Gessner et al., 2014) and its relevance as an urban
water contaminant. As littered cigarette butts may be one of these
sources, the aims of the study are:
(i) To analyze the spatial and temporal variation of littered
cigarette butt accumulation in Berlin, Germany, and to
determine average butt weights and residence times, as
well as.
Fig. 1. Typical situation at the entrance of an underground station in detail.
Cigarette butt count in the 1.44 m
area in the puddle tallied 151. (Photo: T. Nehls,
taken on 27.11.2012 in Berlin, Germany).
2A.L. Roder Green et al. / Journal of Hydrology xxx (2014) xxx–xxx
Please cite this article in press as: Roder Green, A.L., et al. Littered cigarette butts as a source of nicotine in urban waters. J. Hydrol. (2014),
(ii) To investigate the elution of nicotine from average cigarette
butts in average residence times in a batch and a simulated
rainfall experiment, simulating elution in standing water
and during rainfall and drying cycles.
By combining results from the two studies (iii) we assess if cig-
arette butts are a significant source of nicotine in surface run-off
and surface waters in the urban context. Recommendations for city
planners are then discussed.
2. Materials and methods
2.1. Sites and cigarette butt sampling
The study was conducted in Berlin, Germany, with a resident
population of 3.5 million, and 9.7 million visits from tourists in
2011. It is estimated that 31% of the Berlin residents are cigarette
smokers (Amt für Statistik Berlin-Brandenburg, online), which is
higher than the worldwide average. The average population den-
sity in the inner-city study area is 11,150 person km
, the highest
among German inner-city areas (Umweltatlas Berlin, online).
Preliminary samplings were conducted in various areas of the
city which in part confirmed spatial patterns of littered cigarettes
as reported by Marah and Novotny (2011), and from which we
derived criteria for site selection. As representativeness is difficult
to achieve in urban areas, and because of limited resources, we
chose the study area which represented the widest range of
land-use types, human impact intensities, and cigarette littering
frequencies expected within an inner-city district. Furthermore,
the area included combined and separate sewage systems, and
open soil, as these features indicate differing nicotine pathways
to surface water bodies and groundwater. The city of Berlin relies
on water resources from within the city limits for 100% of its drink-
ing water supply.
The inner-city area Treptow–Kreuzberg was identified to be an
appropriate fit for the above mentioned criteria. The area is
average in relation to socio-economic indicators such as property
values, and unemployment rate (fis Berlin, online). The 1.8 km
study area includes typical urban land use types such as mixed res-
idential (apartments, town houses), commercial (office space,
small businesses like tobacco shops, barber shops), public trans-
port (metro station, train station and bus stops), and a variety of
gastronomy types (bistro, restaurant and fast food). The quarter
is in close proximity to the receiving urban water bodies, the river
Spree and the canal Landwehrkanal. Nine sites with a total sam-
pling area of 1955 m
were selected within the study area and
were sub-divided into plots (see below). The individual sites were
not chosen based on the proportional representativeness of a larger
city area. Rather, sites were chosen to represent a wide range of
expected littering, from hotspots to sites with very small littering
frequency (based on preliminary samplings and observations).
The expected high concentration areas included public transit
hubs, intensive night-life locations, and office space, while low
concentration sites included quiet residential areas with no com-
mercial use, and with low pedestrian frequency. A summary of site
information is provided in Table 1.
2.1.1. Plot design
At each site, twenty plots (one site had 21 plots) of variable size
>3 m
(average 10.8 m
,N= 181, SE = 0.4 m
) were demarcated on
the sidewalk. The intention of the plot design was to investigate
the spatial distribution of cigarette butts according to the features:
tree pits (sites 1, 2, 3, 4, 5), bus stops and their waiting areas (sites
1, 7, 8, 9), bike stands, entrances to buildings, shops, or properties
(all sites), and gastronomy including restaurants, fast-food stands,
convenience stores and bars (sites 1, 5, 6, 8). All features were stud-
ied across varying intensities of human impact, and thus cigarette
littering. Based on observations, the plots were also demarcated to
include site-specific local pockets of high cigarette accumulation in
order to assess worst case situations. The variance in the plot sizes
is due to the heterogeneity of the studied sites and features. Plots
with the feature tree pit contained, in addition to the unpaved area
itself, the row of pavement stones bordering the tree pit. All plots
adjacent to the street included a 0.1 m strip of the adjoining gutter.
The goal of investigating a widest possible range of cigarette
butt concentrations, including worst case scenarios, implies a cer-
tain sampling bias. However, due to the large number of plots
(N= 181), this sampling design is well-suited for an analysis of
the spatial patterns and accumulation trends, rather than a repre-
sentative magnitude for central Berlin.
2.1.2. Sampling scheme
A total of five collections were conducted between May 2012
and February 2013. All sites were investigated for variations in
short term (1–3 weeks) and long term (13–17 weeks) accumula-
tion periods, as well as seasonal variation. The accumulation period
is defined as the number of days between sampling events in
which new cigarette butts are accumulated in the plots. At collec-
tions, all identifiable cigarette butts, including damaged or extre-
mely weathered pieces found within plots were removed from
the site (sometimes getting pitying looks and fresh cigarettes been
offered) and brought to the laboratory. They were then counted,
some were dried (50 °C), and weighed (average butt weight of
0.2 g, N= 4,787). Differences in accumulation periods lengths were
due to extreme weather situations such as heavy rain, snowstorms,
or long periods of remaining ice and snow in which it was impos-
sible to find and collect all cigarette butts from all plots of the sites.
2.1.3. Data analysis – butt collection
Statistical analysis of the data was performed using R software
(Version 2.15.2, R Development Core Team). Means of cigarette
butt concentrations for the plots were not normally distributed
when tested on each sampling (Shapiro–Wilk test p< 0.05). As nor-
mal distribution was not achieved through data transformation,
statistical analysis of the significant difference of the means
according to the features described above, was performed using
the non-parametric Kruskal Wallis test. Requirements of homoge-
neity of variances were tested with the Fligner Kileen test. For the
features bus stop, entrance, bicycle stand, and gastronomy, only
plots containing the feature were counted as such. Features with
significant differences in means were compared against one
another via plot means, normed over site and sampling. These
means, with normal distributions and homogeneous variances,
were then tested with ANOVA, and Tukey post hoc tests.
For the analysis of temporal distribution, it was necessary to
compare butt accumulation across all sites with differing concen-
tration ranges. Therefore, the site means were normed by the high-
est plot concentration across all collection periods. The site means
were then grouped according to accumulation period and plotted.
To analyze the accumulation dynamic of cigarette butts in plots
with special features, all plots were grouped by feature, and then
the concentrations were normed by the highest plot concentra-
tions over all collection periods in the groups.
2.2. Nicotine elution from cigarette butts
The collections in the city described above were designed to
determine the variability and average concentrations, butt weights
and residence times, while in the laboratory experiments,
described in the following, the nicotine release from average ciga-
rette butts during the resulting residence times was determined.
A.L. Roder Green et al. / Journal of Hydrology xxx (2014) xxx–xxx 3
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2.2.1. Preparation of standardized cigarette butts (SCBs)
‘Standardized cigarette butts’ (SCBs) used in the study were
produced in the laboratory from the cigarette brand with the
highest worldwide market share (Mackay and Ericksen, 2002)
purchased in Berlin, Germany. The nicotine content of this product
was close to the mean of all products with over 3% market share in
the US (Kozlowski et al., 1998).
The average cigarette butt length of 3.7 10
m(N= 124) was
ascertained from freshly discarded cigarettes from an extra
sampling campaign which corresponded to a SCB’s dry weight of
0.3 g (N= 8). All SCBs were smoked to this length with a smoking
machine (RM 20/CS; Heinrich Borgwaldt GmbH, Hamburg,
Germany) according to ISO 3308:2012 (puff volume: 35 ± 0.3 mL,
puff duration: 2 ± 0.05 s, puff frequency: 60 ± 0.5 min
). Addition-
ally, SCBs with 3, 6, and 7 10
m length were produced. The
SCBs were dried at 50 °C prior to use in the following laboratory
2.2.2. Batch experiment puddle
In order to study the release of nicotine from cigarette butts,
one SCB was added to 1 L of purified water in an amber glass bottle
(three replicates). Aliquots of 0.01 L were taken after 0.5, 10, 30, 60,
90, 120, 240, 1440 min, filtered with a 0.45
m glass fiber mem-
brane (GFM Whatman) and stored at 4 °C before analysis. Prior
to sampling, the bottle was inverted two times. This minimal
amount of mixing was employed to avoid a physical disintegration
of the cigarette butt, and to make the release comparable to the
situation in a puddle, thus resulting in a conservative estimation
of release. The volume decrease due to sampling was considered
in the calculation of concentrations.
In order to investigate the relationship between butt length
and the nicotine release, the batch experiment was repeated
(t= 240 min, see below) with SCB of 3, 6, and 7 10
m and 0.2,
0.5, 0.6 g respectively. Then the released nicotine was related to
the SCB weights and to the tobacco weight in the SCB (cigarette
filters alone were 2.1 10
m and weighed 0.17 g).
2.2.3. Simulated rainfall experiment
Five SCBs were weighed and distributed on a stainless steel tray
(0.16 m
) with a 2% slope (usual sidewalk slope). The tray was
mounted on top of a continually logged scale (Fig. 2). The SCBs
were exposed to 15 consecutive simulated daily rainfall events
with an average flow rate of 0.18 mm min
, and an average sum
of 1.44 mm d
. This event sum is less than 5% of the precipitation
event distribution in Berlin (Nehls et al., 2011), and thus an esti-
mate of the minimum amount of water which comes into contact
with littered cigarette butts.
Daily run-off from the tray was collected, and stored in amber
glass bottles at 4 °C. After the 15 rainfall events, the SCBs were
removed, dried at 50 °C, and weighed. Remaining nicotine was
eluted from each SCB in 0.25 L of de-ionized water for 1440 min
(sampling described above).
2.2.4. Analysis of nicotine in water
Nicotine was quantified using LC positive-ESI–MS/MS (HP 1100,
Agilent, Waldbronn, Germany; Quattro Micro, Waters). Nicotine
was detected in the selected reaction monitoring (SRM) mode. The
product ions for the SRM experiments were determined by infusion
of nicotine (product ions m/z117 and 130), and continine-d
uct ions m/z101 and 80) which was used as an internal standard. For
both compounds the cone voltage was set to 30 V and the collision
energy to 23 V. The pressure in the collision cell was 1.95 10
bar. Ultrapure water and methanol, both with 1 10
M ammo-
nium acetate, were used as an eluent for the LC separation The
following elution was employed: initial 90% water isocratic for
0.5 min, a linear gradient to 100% methanol within 2.5 min, and then
within 0.5 min to 90% water which was isocratic for 16.5 min. The
flow was 2.5 10
L min
and the column was set to 30 °C.
The compounds were analyzed with 5 10
L of the internal
standard added to 1 10
L of each sample. The concentration
was determined from the peak area ratio of m/z117 (nicotine) to
m/z80 (continine-d
). The mass spectrometer was calibrated from
50 to 800 10
nicotine with correlation coefficients
greater than 0.998. The limit of quantification, determined by
preliminary analysis, is 4 10
nicotine. All samples were
analyzed twice.
Table 1
Description of the sites for littered cigarette butts collection in Berlin, Germany.
Site no. Address Type of use Latitude Longitude Functional features
1 Lohmühlenplatz Residential 52°29
E bu, en, ga, tp
2 Lexisstrasse Residential 52°29
E en, tp
3 Martin-Hoffmann Strasse Residential 52°29
E en, tp
4 Martin Hoffmann Strasse Office 52°29
E bst, en, tp
5 Schlesische Strasse Residential/nightlife 52°29
E bst, en, ga, tp
6 Treptower Park S-Bahn Station Public transport 52°29
E bst, en, ga
7 Elsenstrasse Public transport 52°29
E bst, bu, en, tp
8 Schlesische Strasse Public transport 52°29
E bu, en, ga
9 Reichenberger Strasse Public transport 52°29
E bu, en, tp
tp – tree pit, unpaved sidewalk vegetation, bu – bus-stop, en – entrance including commercial, residential, office, or fenced yard, ga – gastronomy, bs – bicycle stand.
Fig. 2. Experimental setup for the rainfall simulation (a) Mariott’s bottle, (b) needle
irrigator, (c) hermetically sealed plexiglas box, (d) data logger, (e) stainless steel
tray with standardized cigarette butts, (f) digital scale, (g) run-off collection, and (h)
pressure difference, adjusted to the targeted rainfall rate.
4A.L. Roder Green et al. / Journal of Hydrology xxx (2014) xxx–xxx
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Nicotine and continine-d
were purchased from Sigma Aldrich.
7.92 10
L nicotine (density 1.010 g cm
) was dissolved in
0.1 L ultra pure water, and than diluted to final concentrations of
80, 50, 40, 20, 10 and 5 10
mg L
. Continine-d
(1 g L
methanol) was diluted to the final concentration of 1 10
with ultrapure water. The ultrapure water was produced from
de-ionized water with a water purification system (maxima ultra-
pure water; Elga, Upstadt-Weiher, Germany). All other chemicals
used (methanol, ammonium acetate) were LC–MS quality.
3. Results and discussion
3.1. Spatial variation of littered cigarette butts in Berlin
The mean butt concentration over all collections and sites is
2.7 m
(SD = 0.64 m
,N= 862 sampled plots). The lowest site
mean, 0.29 m
(SD = 0.15 m
), was observed at site No. 2, a quiet
residential side street, with a low pedestrian frequency, as well as
an absence of any businesses or public transit stops. The highest
mean, 5.2 m
(SD = 2.2 m
), was observed at site No. 6, at the
main entrance to a well-frequented city train station, including
convenience stores, fast food, and bicycle stands.
The spatial distribution of cigarette butts is characterized by
pockets of high concentration, on all scales (within the study area,
within sites and within plots). Thus, all sites are characterized by a
similar right skewed frequency distribution of plot concentrations
(Fig. 3). The highest concentration of littered cigarette butts in a
single plot was found in site No. 6 near a train station entrance
with 48 m
. That corresponds to a number of 581 butts, almost
all of which were concentrated in a large pile of snow. This is an
exceptionally high number, most probably containing butts, which
were transferred from other plots, or from areas outside the study
site. This data has been included in the analysis as it depicts an
observed concentration in one plot. This number is relevant for
the ecological effects of cigarette butts, regardless of whether the
cigarette butts were originally discarded there, or transported
through snow removal and sweeping at a later point. Accordingly,
individual plot concentrations are up to 500 times higher than the
respective mean (Fig. 3). Effects such as wind, water, pedestrians,
street sweeping, or snow removal, as well as preferential littering,
lead to very heterogeneous distributions of butts in certain plots.
There will always be limited certainty as a dynamic system like
the city may change while being sampled.
The means of plot concentrations grouped by features are sig-
nificantly different for all samplings (Kruskal Wallis of normed plot
concentrations, p< 0.05). The Tukey post hoc test showed that only
tree pits contain significantly more (2.9 times more) littered ciga-
rette butts than the control plots with none of the special features
(Fig. 4). Tree pits are not cleaned regularly by mechanized street
sweeping. Whether butts are preferentially littered to tree pits or
the concentration is enriched relative to the surrounding area is
not clear. That cigarette butts are removed from other plots and
put into tree pits by the sweeping cannot be excluded.
The cigarette butt concentration in bus stops is not significantly
lower than in tree pits. Although it is 1.9 times higher than in con-
trol plots, that difference is not significant. In winter, when people
use public transit more frequently, we observed a trend of higher
concentrations. The feature bus stop was not mentioned as a
cigarette butt accumulation hotspot in a US American study
(Marah and Novotny, 2011). Public transport is more important
in Germany, and thus it explains spatial distribution of urban litter
to a higher extent than in the USA.
Bicycle stands seem to be protected from sweeping in the same
way as tree pits. Means of normed butt concentrations are 1.5
times higher than that of the control plots. The predominant group
of bicycle stands was located in site No. 6 near the entrance to a
city train station. This uncovered bicycle parking area was not well
maintained, and contained a large amount of garbage, fallen leaves,
and abandoned bicycles. Littering rates are known to be higher in
areas where litter is already present (Schultz et al., 2013). The plot
concentrations of the bicycle stands in site No. 6 were especially
high for the last winter collection, in which snow had been pushed
into large piles.
The feature gastronomy includes restaurants, a fast-food stand,
a convenience store, and bars. Therefore it includes many of the
types of land use associated with increased butt concentrations
in the study from Marah and Novotny (2011). Our results do not
show this feature to be the most important indicator of butt con-
centrations. We observed that not all of the business owners sweep
the area in front of their business on a daily basis. Some proprietors
dispose the butts properly, while others sweep the butts into the
gutters or tree pits. Thus, heterogeneous sweeping activities
change the spatial patterns of littered cigarettes leading to both
higher accumulation in specific areas, as well as a lower accumula-
tion due to the removal of cigarette butts from the street into prop-
erly treated waste streams.
Most probably for the same reasons, plots with the feature
‘entrance’ did not differ at all from the control plots when analyzed
Littered cigarette butts [m-2]
12 34 56 78 9
Fig. 3. Concentration of littered cigarette butts for all samplings in all plots of sites
1–9, Berlin, Germany.
Fig. 4. Concentrations of littered cigarette butts normed by the highest concentra-
tion per site, and grouped by functional features. Columns depict arithmetic means,
error bars depict the standard error. Bars labeled by the same letter are not
significantly different (p< 0.05, N= 181 plots).
A.L. Roder Green et al. / Journal of Hydrology xxx (2014) xxx–xxx 5
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across all samplings and sites. The feature entrances, like the fea-
ture gastronomy, are composed of a non-homogenous group of
plots next to a doorway, gated yard, or an entrance to a train sta-
tion. Some plots were located at entrances to small businesses such
as a hairdresser, or a driving school. The workers in these busi-
nesses were observed to smoke outside their workplaces during
breaks. The high numbers of cigarette butts collected in site No.
4, are due to the entrance to an office space, where many employ-
ees take their breaks outside with a cigarette. Although people toss
cigarettes before going back to work, they do not necessarily drop
the cigarette butt directly at the entrance. Butts can be flicked wide
distances away from entrances, or dropped some meters in front of
the entrance.
Furthermore, we observed that cigarette butts tend to accumu-
late in large or uneven pavement joints, such as in cobblestone
pavements. In smooth pavement with narrow joints, fewer ciga-
rette butts accumulate.
3.2. Temporal variation of littered cigarette butts in Berlin
Cigarette butts are continually littered into the urban environ-
ment. A seasonal variation was not significantly indicated from
our samplings. This finding corresponds with other studies on
urban litter (Seco Pon et al., 2012). There was also no difference
in cigarette butt concentrations between short and long term accu-
mulation periods, exemplified by the oscillating pattern of the
temporal variation in Fig. 5a. Despite the great variability between
the plots, the average residence time over all sites is six days, as
derived by analyzing the phases in which the number of butts
increased (5, 4, 6, 6, 9 days). This corresponds to the sweeping
frequency by municipal agencies which – depending on the site
– varies from a weekly to a daily rhythm (such as at the train sta-
tion, Berliner Stadtreinigung GmbH, personal information and own
observation). Some business owners, as discussed above, also
sweep on a daily basis, thus we conclude a minimum accumulation
period or residence time of littered cigarette butts of one day. On
average, littered cigarette butt accumulation is characterized by a
six days cadence with an average butt accumulation rate of
0.18 m
; SD = 0.15 m
For the feature tree pit (Fig. 5b), there is a trend of higher accu-
mulation with larger sampling intervals. The accumulation periods
are longer than for all plots. Thorough cleaning by manual munici-
pal sweeping occurs a few times per year, resulting in the removal
of almost all butts in tree pits and bike stands (Berliner Stadtreini-
gung GmbH, personal information).
Furthermore cigarette butts are littered continuously, but they
are not littered consistently. Some areas will experience littering
during working hours, as in areas outside of offices, schools, or
small businesses, while other areas will see more littering on
weekends and at night.
We conclude that the distribution of butts is characterized by
site specific short term patterns of increase and decrease due to
littering, weathering, erosion, removal and re-distribution with a
minimum residence time of one day. The dynamic of nicotine
release from a littered cigarette butt is discussed in the following
3.3. Nicotine release from standard cigarette butts
The batch experiment is a realistic description of the elution
dynamic when cigarette butts come into contact with standing
water, including permanent bodies of water such as a lake or a
river, but also puddles in street or sidewalk depressions caused
by precipitation. In the batch experiment, 7.1 mg g
(SD = 0.07
mg g
) nicotine was released from the SCB after 1440 min, 50%
of the total amount after 27.2 min and 90% already after 651 min
(Fig. 6a). The released concentration after 1440 min is therefore
considered to be the total releasable nicotine from SCBs for the
rainfall experiment. Nicotine is released quickly to the water
phase, according to a first order reaction model C
= 0.98 ln
(t) + 0.65 (R
= 0.94) with C
the soluble nicotine concentration
(mg g
) and tthe reaction time (min).
Surprisingly, the nicotine release (mg g
) from cigarette butts
increases according to butt weight M
=19 M
+ 0.5;
= 0.92). This is due to the fact, that the nicotine release from
the butt is determined by the remaining tobacco (constant at
16.2 mg g
tobacco; SD = 1.6 mg g
,N= 12) instead of the filter
(0.22 mg g
The water-extractable amount of nicotine from a SCB is 14
times higher than the threshold established by the European Union
for hazardous tobacco waste (0.5 mg g
)(Civilini et al., 1997).
From such puddles, nicotine may enter the groundwater, from
which drinking water is extracted in Berlin. The filtration capacity
of paved soils is decreased depending on the pavement and
sub-soil permeability function, as well as the susceptibility to pref-
erential flow, (Nehls et al., 2008). Nicotinophilic micro-organisms
Fig. 5. (a) Concentrations of littered cigarette butts normed by the highest value for the site in all samplings in relation to the sampling intervals for all plots (N= 862 plots)
and (b) plots with tree pits. Squares and diamonds depict arithmetic means, error bars depict standard errors (N= 102 plots).
6A.L. Roder Green et al. / Journal of Hydrology xxx (2014) xxx–xxx
Please cite this article in press as: Roder Green, A.L., et al. Littered cigarette butts as a source of nicotine in urban waters. J. Hydrol. (2014),
capable of nicotine degradation in water (Civilini et al., 1997) and
soils (Ma et al., 2012) have been identified. The existence and activ-
ity of such micro-organisms in the particular environment of pave-
ment joint soils (Nehls et al., 2006) have not yet been investigated.
Standing water is common in historic quarters of cities, but not
the rule. Therefore, we also tested the elution of nicotine from
butts exposed to rainfall without puddle formation.
In the simulated rainfall experiment, the cumulative total nico-
tine elution from SCBs was 3.8 mg g
from a total precipitation of
21.6 mm in fifteen events (Fig. 6b). Half of the nicotine was eluted
after 1.6 mm or 1.1 events. Again, a first order reaction model pro-
vides a good description of the elution dynamic: C
= 0.79
Ln(P) + 1.62 (R
= 0.90), with Pthe sum of rainfall [mm]. Based on
the results of the batch experiment, we recovered a sum of 55% of
the total water-extractable nicotine in the SCB’s. The remaining
amount of nicotine in the SCBs after the 15 rainfall events was
0.16 mg g
(SD = 0.02 mg g
;N= 5). It can be concluded, that
even cigarettes, which were exposed to several precipitation events
(in our case seven events) must be classified as hazardous waste.
The measured nicotine concentrations in the run-off water
reached up to 5.3 mg L
SBC. Applied to the mean butt concen-
tration of the study area, nicotine concentrations in the run-off are
estimated to reach 0.62 mg L
(1.44 mm rain event, run-off
coefficient = 1). Local concentrations can be as high as 11.4 mg L
calculated using the highest observed plot concentration. Both con-
centrations are far above the PNEC, (2.4 10
mg L
et al., 2011), as well as the EC50 for Daphnia (0.2 mg L
and Tanabe, 1989). As cigarette butts are continuously and copi-
ously littered in the urban environment, and given the rapid elution,
every precipitation event will release relevant amounts of nicotine
into the urban environment. The high local concentrations in hot
spots can lead to nicotine flushes, a concern for aquatic ecosystems.
Obviously, nicotine concentrations in surface run-off may be
extreme for small rain events. Surface run-off draining to separate
sewer systems leads directly into surface water bodies without
treatment. Effluent from WWTP and leaking septic systems are
assumed to be the main source of nicotine contamination in surface
and ground water. As nicotine elimination in WWTP has been
observed at rates of 75–99% efficiency (Huerta-Fontela et al.,
2008), the contribution of nicotine from paved urban areas should
be considered as a source of nicotine in surface waters.
While the reported data and calculations are based on experi-
mental study of one common cigarette brand, real-world cigarette
litter consists of a mixture of brands and products with varying
nicotine content. As more nicotine is contained in the tobacco than
in the filter of cigarette butts, the released nicotine depends on the
behavior of smokers with regard to littered butt length (weight,
filter to tobacco ratio). Likewise, littering habits depend on cultural
and socio-economic factors beyond the scope of this study. Conse-
quently nicotine elution will vary due to the local preferences of
smokers, as well as the behavior (littering and sweeping) of resi-
dents and municipalities. Herein lays the key to cope with the
4. Conclusions and implications for city planning
This study demonstrates that (i) cigarette butts accumulate in
high numbers in urban areas and (ii) the nicotine which is released
from such litter poses a significant threat to urban water resources.
Cigarette butts are continuously littered into the urban environ-
ment, and accumulate in areas where they are not regularly
removed by private or municipal actors (e.g. tree pits). First flush
events with high nicotine concentrations are likely to take place
after longer accumulation periods with dry weather. Each littered
cigarette butt can potentially release nicotine in concentrations
higher than the threshold value of hazardous and toxic waste
defined by the European Union. Having its nicotine fully released
to standing water, only one cigarette butt can contaminate an
amount of 1000 L water to concentrations above the predicted no
effect concentration (PNEC) of only 2.4 10
mg L
et al., 2011).
Thus, municipalities have a legal obligation to make sure that
this tobacco waste is disposed in an appropriate way. One
approach, suggested by Novotny et al. (2009), is to hold cigarette
companies legally responsible. Regardless of legal or financial
responsibility, management of cigarette butt littering in cities must
be implemented.
Although a more effective and frequent street sweeping would
help to reduce the released amount of nicotine, our study shows
that the present system is already effective where it reaches the lit-
ter. It is questionable, if higher frequencies of mechanized street
sweeping would change the situation in the high accumulation
pockets significantly.
Increasing the number of public ashtrays in areas with high cig-
arette butt concentrations, such as near well-frequented areas, and
bus stops, could reduce cigarette butt littering. Although public
ashtrays are already installed on top of the numerous public trash
receptacles in the city of Berlin, cigarette butts are littered in large
0 360 720 1080 1440
time [min]
released nicotine [mg g-1butt]
nicotine in water [mg L-1 g-1butt]
cumulative sum of rainfall events [mm]
released nicotine [mg g-1 butt]
nicotine [mg L-1g-1 butt]
cumulative released
nicotine in water
first order reaction model
first order reaction model
Fig. 6. (a) Dynamic of nicotine release from standardized cigarette butts to water in batch experiments and (b) dynamic of nicotine release from standard cigarette butts to
water in a series of simulated rainfall events in the laboratory (right). Circles and diamonds depict arithmetic means, error bars depict standard errors (N= 3).
A.L. Roder Green et al. / Journal of Hydrology xxx (2014) xxx–xxx 7
Please cite this article in press as: Roder Green, A.L., et al. Littered cigarette butts as a source of nicotine in urban waters. J. Hydrol. (2014),
amounts. Furthermore, contradictory results suggest that the effect
of ashtrays on cigarette littering rates is not clear (Schultz et al.,
2013, Bator et al., 2011; Patel et al., 2013). Nevertheless, intensified
street sweeping efforts and the installation of additional ash trays
will be an economic hurdle for cities or tobacco companies
(Novotny and Zhao, 1999), with unclear effects.
Instead, we recommend a public education approach aimed at
effecting a change in littering behavior through awareness-raising.
People who consider cigarette butts to be litter are significantly
more likely to dispose of their butts properly (Rath et al., 2012).
The main message of such a campaign should focus on the toxic
nature of cigarette butt waste and the effect on environment and
drinking water quality.
Additionally, the pathways of nicotine released from cigarette
butts to urban waters are in need of investigation. We recommend
the implementation of a monitoring system for nicotine in urban
waters (surface, ground- and drinking waters). Furthermore, stud-
ies are necessary to observe nicotine not only in surface run-off but
for all pathways and transformations it may undergo at natural,
technical and natural–technical interfaces such as soil, pavement,
sewer, surface water body or WWTP and then surface water, bank
filtration, infiltration into groundwater, groundwater extraction,
drinking water treatment, drinking water, bottled water (Gessner
et al., 2014).
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A.L. Roder Green et al. / Journal of Hydrology xxx (2014) xxx–xxx 9
Please cite this article in press as: Roder Green, A.L., et al. Littered cigarette butts as a source of nicotine in urban waters. J. Hydrol. (2014),
... According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the population of smokers reaches 1.3 billion (WHO. 2021) , a significant portion of these are children aged 10 to 14 years (Green et al. 2014). Reports indicate that more than 5.7 trillion cigarettes are produced annually in the world, and this figure is estimated to increase by 50% by 2025 (Marinello et al. 2020, Atlas 2018. ...
... Reports indicate that more than 5.7 trillion cigarettes are produced annually in the world, and this figure is estimated to increase by 50% by 2025 (Marinello et al. 2020, Atlas 2018. Thus, the significant rate of production and consumption of cigarettes in the world leads to a considerable production of cigarette butts (CBs) (Green et al. 2014). The small size and improper disposal of CBs have led to the widespread distribution of this waste in the environment (Haseler et al. 2018, Becherucci et al. 2017, Valiente et al. 2020, which has led to the introduction of CBs as the most important waste in urban, public, coastal and marine areas (Simeonova et al. 2017, Yi and Kannan 2016, Lee and Lee 2015, Chevalier et al. 2018. ...
... Because most CBs are made of cellulose acetate, CBs are largely non-biodegradable and their permanence is a concern for wildlife and human health (Joly and Coulis 2018). CBs are estimated to contain 4,000 to 7,000 types of pollutants, including heavy metals (Janaydeh et al. 2019, Dunbar et al. 2018, Kurmus and Mohajerani 2020, Hoseini et al. 2016, nicotine (Green et al. 2014), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) (Moriwaki et al. 2009, Dobaradaran et al. 2019, benzene, formaldehyde, and cyanide. The presence of heavy metals in cigarettes can be attributed to the growth and cultivation stages of tobacco, soil pollution, the use of pesticides and herbicides, the process of cigarette production, and the use of brighteners on wrapping paper (Shafiq et al. 2020, Engida and Chandravanshi 2017, Regassa and Chandravanshi 2016, Omari et al. 2015 which can be potential risks for human health and the environment. ...
Cigarettes are known as the most popular tobacco in the world. The aim of this study was to evaluate the concentrations of heavy metals in smoked and non-smoked cigarette butts (CBs) from ten cigarette brands (including five Iranian brands) and human health risk assessment associated with inhalation exposure. Inductively Coupled Plasma Optical Emission Spectrometry (ICP-OES) was used for heavy metals measurement after CBs digestion. The results showed that the highest concentrations of heavy metals in nonsmoked and smoked cigarette butts are related to Pb (0.63 ± 0.21 mg/g) and Ni (0.81 ± 1.48 mg/g), respectively. The concentration of all heavy metals in smoked CBs is significantly higher than in non-smoked. According to the results, Ni and Cd elements in 60% of Iranian brands and 80% of other brands have HI > 1, which indicates a potential non-carcinogenic risk for consumers. Also, the carcinogenic risk of Cr in all brands is higher than 1.00E-4, which indicates the carcinogenic risk of the consumer in case of continuous exposure to cigarette smoke. Heavy metals in CBs can have potential carcinogenic and non-carcinogenic effects on the health of smokers exposed to inhalation. Therefore, continuous monitoring and regulation of the ingredients of domestically produced and imported cigarettes are recommended.
... The average cigarette litter concentration was found to be 2.7 items/m 2 (max. 49 items/m 2 ) in Berlin, Germany [8] and 0.21 items per meter city passage (max. 53 items) in Qazvin, Iran [7]. ...
... metals [16]). Smoked cigarette filters can leach polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)-especially naphthalene [27], nicotine [8], ethylphenol [28], benzene, toluene, ethylbenzol, xylene (BTEX) [29], and heavy metals [16] into water. In turn, dissolved PAHs [30][31][32], nicotine [33], BTEX [32,34] and heavy metals [16,35] can accumulate in the tissue of aquatic biota. ...
Full-text available
Cigarettes are the most littered item in public spaces. Smokers who litter are leaving a trace of toxic waste that adds to the global plastic pollution due to harmful chemicals and semisynthetic microfibres that compose cigarette filters. Here we present a multidisciplinary study aiming to assess i) predictors of cigarette littering, and ii) the toxicity of semisynthetic filters to the freshwater invertebrate Chironomus riparius, including iii) the potential driver of toxicity. Unobtrusive observations of 597 smokers at public places were analysed using logistic regression, which showed that age (negatively) and group setting (positively) are personal predictors, and the number of present ashtrays (negatively) is a contextual predictor of cigarette littering. In addition, we assessed acute and chronic aquatic toxicity of cigarette filters in standardized ecotoxicity tests on several lethal and sublethal effects, using both smoked and unsmoked filters. Following 48-h exposure, concentrations of 2 filters/L from smoked and unsmoked filters caused 36–100% and 75–100% larvae immobility, respectively. We further demonstrated that cigarette filter fibres seem to add to the toxicity of filter leachates. Seven-day exposures that used either contaminated water or sediment (3 weeks leaching time, eq. 1 filter/L water and 1 filter/166.5 ml sediment) showed exposures via sediment caused more frequent and severe effects on the larvae than exposures via water. Larvae exposed to contaminated sediment (smoked and unsmoked filters) exhibited > 20% higher mortality, > 1.5-fold decrease in growth, and > 80% decreased development, compared to larvae in control conditions. Moreover, we found that cigarette filters have the potential to be teratogenic to freshwater invertebrates. Our results could be used to support litter prevention efforts, advisably via integrated educational campaigns. The campaigns could account for the societal and environmental complexity of cigarette littering by being tailored to the determined littering predictors and using ecotoxicity results as content.
... Even unsmoked cellulose acetate filters can be toxic to some invertebrates and plants (Green et al., 2022), but after smoking cigarette filters pose an increased chemical threat to organisms. Cigarettes contain over 7000 toxic chemicals and some of these are readily leached into aquatic habitats (Green et al., 2014;Akhbarizadeh et al., 2021). Leachate from a single butt can contaminate 1000 L water with concentrations of nicotine above the EU predicted no effect concentration of only 2.4 × 10 −3 mg L −1 , thus qualifying as hazardous waste according to EU thresholds (Green et al., 2014). ...
... Cigarettes contain over 7000 toxic chemicals and some of these are readily leached into aquatic habitats (Green et al., 2014;Akhbarizadeh et al., 2021). Leachate from a single butt can contaminate 1000 L water with concentrations of nicotine above the EU predicted no effect concentration of only 2.4 × 10 −3 mg L −1 , thus qualifying as hazardous waste according to EU thresholds (Green et al., 2014). Since 2006, over 35 studies have examined the toxicity of cigarette butts in biota from aquatic and terrestrial habitats and a range of lethal and sublethal impacts have been documented (Green et al., 2022). ...
Cigarette filters offer no public health benefits, are single-use plastics and the most common source of plastic (cellulose acetate) pollution. Filters are routinely littered, accounting for a significant proportion of plastic litter worldwide, requiring considerable public funds to remove, and are a source of microplastics. Used cigarette filters can leech toxic chemicals and pose an ecological risk to both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Bottom-up measures, such as focusing on consumer behaviour, are ineffective and we need to impose top-down solutions (i.e., bans) if we are to reduce the prevalence of this number one litter item. Banning filters offers numerous ecological, socioeconomic, and public health benefits.
... Littering on urban catchment surfaces can also contribute to the pollution of urban stormwater runoff: cigarette butts can release nano-scale particles, metals (Chevalier et al., 2018), and nicotine (Roder Green et al., 2014), while the degradation of plastic litter can release microplastic particles (Öborn et al., 2022). Intentional and unintentional spills of fluids such as household chemicals, paints, or oils onto catchment surfaces or directly into storm sewer inlets are another possible source of stormwater pollution (Butler et al., 2018). ...
... Horton et al. (2017a) and Hahladakis et al. (2018), common plastic additives that were found to be released from plastic litter include many trace organic pollutants, such as phthalates, BPA and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), and metals, that are often used as or in colourings. Moreover, littering by disposing cigarette butts in the urban environment was considered a relevant threat to urban water quality, considering their rapid release of nicotine (Roder Green et al., 2014), as well as nano-scale particles and several metals (Chevalier et al., 2018). Littering may also attract rodents and other animals, which may contribute nutrients and faecal microorganisms to stormwater runoff, as further described in Section 3.3.7. ...
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Urban runoff is a significant pathway for the transport of diverse substances from the urban environment to receiving water bodies. Many of these substances are pollutants of environmental concern with potentially harmful effects on aquatic life. Detailed knowledge of the sources of pollutants entering stormwater runoff is needed to mitigate these effects.The overall aim of this doctoral thesis is therefore to provide new knowledge on the sources contributing to urban runoff pollution and to evaluate the specific contributions of micropollutants from two known major sources: building and structure surface materials, and vehicular activities. The work presented herein also (i) identifies pollutants that are expected to occur in runoff from buildings and other structure surfaces in the urban environment as well as in runoff from the road environment, (ii) estimates the concentrations of these pollutants released into runoff, and (iii) evaluates methods for identifying sources contributing to the pollution of urban stormwater runoff. The novel work presented in the thesis includes a critical review of the literature on sources contributing to urban runoff pollution, laboratory leaching tests and open-air sampling of pilot panels of building and structure surface materials, and field sampling of urban roadside snow. The literature review was not restricted in terms of type of pollution, while the experiments focused on selected metals and organic micropollutants including phthalates, alkylphenols, bisphenol A, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). According to the literature review, atmospheric deposition, vehicular activities, and metallic building envelopes are the major pollution sources in the urban environment and have been studied far more extensively than other sources. Moreover, their dominance is likely to continue given their central roles in urban environments. The experimental results confirmed that vehicular activities were sources of octylphenols, bisphenol A, and phthalates as well as the metal(loid)s Sb and W, both of which were rarely determined in previous studies on urban runoff. Building and structure surface materials such as copper sheets, zinc sheets, and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) roofing membranes were found to release Cu, Zn, nonylphenols, and phthalates. Among alkylphenols, nonylphenols were predominantly found in building surface runoff while octylphenols occurred predominantly in roadside snow. Metals occurred more commonly in dissolved (<0.45 μm) form in building surface runoff than in roadside snow, where metals were mainly attached to particles. A comparison of methods for identifying building surface materials contributing to runoff pollution showed that laboratory leaching tests were generally effective for source identification but not for estimating concentrations in actual runoff, whereas open-air pilot studies were resource-intensive but give results that agree well with analyses of real runoff. In addition, the release of pollutants from building surface materials subjected to in-situ ageing was investigated and the water quality of rainwater-induced runoff was compared to that of snowmelt-induced runoff; neither of these issues were adequately addressed in the previous literature. These studies showed that pollutant concentrations were generally higher in rain runoff than in snowmelt runoff and that pollutant releases from most materials and substances exhibited no decreasing or increasing trend over time. However, the release of nonylphenols from one of the PVCs did decrease over time, possibly because of washing out and material ageing.
... Actions that could increase the effectiveness of existing street sweeping practices are enforcing the removal of vehicles from streets during street sweeping to allow sweepers to reach the curb as well as enhancing the frequency of street sweeping in high trash generating areas [59,65]. ...
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Some urban areas have more litter than others. Understanding the reason for this is important not only for dealing with urban littering but also for marine water quality because approximately 80% of the world's marine litter originates on land. This study aimed to better understand the quality and quantity of litter on sidewalks along with the sampling site's socio-economic attributes to better discern why some areas have more/different litter than others and what, if any, are the implications for a more tailored waste management strategy. We surveyed twice each of the 35 sites we selected from the Lower Passaic River watershed and the related Harbor Estuary within New Jersey, U.S.A. A total of 28,431 litter items were recorded with a total mass and volume of 245.8 kg and 4.7 m3, respectively. Floatable items accounted for 66% of all objects collected. Cigarette butts were the most numerous among all items (28%) and represented 43% of the total floatable items, the remaining 57% being represented by potentially recyclable items such as plastic, rubber, and Styrofoam. Stepwise linear regression was used to explore the relationship between the litter collected and various predictors. Among others, the results suggest the importance of strategically placing collection bins around properties with relatively lower assessed values, outdoor smoking areas, close to schools, and places where people predominantly walk to their destination. Possible management strategies include prohibiting single use plastic bags, limiting foam food ware, public education, and outreach.
... The average of littered cigarette butts was 2.7 number/m 2 Seasonal variation in the density of littered cigarette butts was not observed Nicotine leaches quickly from the cigarette butt and is known to be a serious threat to water resources 12 Jiroft, Iran (category 2) ...
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More than 5 trillion cigarettes are produced in the world every year. This hazardous waste is one of the most important litter in the environment. The purpose of this study was to investigate the density and dispersion of cigarette butts in the urban environment and to estimate the leakage of pollution from it to the environment. For this purpose, the cigarette butt pollution index was used in 14 locations. Observations were made during a year and once a month for each location. The study of the locations was done with the same conditions on weekend and working days. The amount of heavy metal leakage was estimated based on the average weight of cigarette butts and the ratio of metal leakage in different weather conditions. The results showed that the annual average of index for the studied locations was 1.36 (SD 0.11) to 10.6 (SD 1.23). Based on this, 28.5% of the locations were in the low pollution status and 42.8% were in the significant pollution status and worse. On average, the index on weekend decreased by 32.3 percent in all locations, and the average index of the studied locations in spring and summer was 26.2 percent higher than in autumn and winter. The average leakage of heavy metals including chromium, cadmium, zinc, lead, copper, and nickel from littered cigarette butts in commercial, residential, and recreational areas was estimated to be 0.27, 0.079, and 0.17 µg per square meter, respectively. Cigarette butt is one of the most abundant litter in the studied area, which is the source of many pollutants, including heavy metals. This hazardous waste is a serious threat to the urban environment.
... Chemicals leaching from littered CBs is a serious issue as it leads to soil and water pollution. In fact, leached nicotine from a cigarette butt has the potential to pollute 1000 L of water 14 . Besides, CB leachate is toxic to plants and animals. ...
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This study investigated the recycling of freshly-smoked cigarette butts (FCBs) and unsmoked cigarette filters (UCFs) into a cellulose acetate (CA) membrane. The both samples were prepared by means of a combination of seven cigarette brands, and the phase inversion method was used to recycle each sample into a membrane using N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone. The efficiency of the prepared membranes for the removal of chromium, cadmium, and lead from an aqueous solution in a forward osmosis reactor was investigated. The results showed that the both membranes had a smooth surface and macrovoids. The flux of the prepared membranes from the UCFs and FCBs recycling were 14.8 and 13.2 LMH, respectively. The porosity and reverse salt of the UCFs membrane were 61% and 3.5 gMH, while those for FCBs membrane were 58% and 3.9 gMH. The observed metal removal efficiency of the both membranes was in the range of 85 to 90%. However, increasing the concentration of metals up to five times caused a slight decrease in the removal efficiency (less than 5%).
Cigarette butts (CBs) are composed of cellulose acetate and are a significant source of anthropogenic waste. More than 4 trillion CBs are improperly discarded in natural and urban environments, resulting in the contamination of a variety of ecosystems. The goal of the present study was to obtain information regarding environmental contamination of CBs through a comprehensive systematic review. A literature review was conducted using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses method. “Cigarette butt” and “cigarette filter” were used as keywords in searches in Google Scholar, Scopus, PubMed, ScienceDirect, and SpringerLink databases, where the abstracts were separated, organized, and analysed using IRaMuTeQ software. The review identified 116 articles published in 23 countries, with publication growth observed over the years. Through descending hierarchical classification, two groups and four classes were recognized, whereby different terminologies were specified by factorial correspondence and similarity analyses. The four classes were categorized as follows: (1) ecotoxicological studies, with information about the lethal and sublethal effects of CBs on different organisms; (2) public policies, with discussion pertaining to the problem and possible measures and actions aimed at reducing CB contamination; (3) contamination of public areas, with studies addressing the potential dispersion of this material in the environment; and (4) physicochemical aspects, with evidence of the potential for contamination caused by the components contained in the cigarette filters. However, despite an increasing number of publications over the years and a variety of studies regarding the environmental effects of CBs, there is still an absence of information within each class, requiring further research.
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Chemical pollution is still an underestimated threat to surface waters from natural areas. This study has analysed the presence and distribution of 59 organic micropollutants (OMPs) including pharmaceuticals, lifestyle compounds, pesticides, organophosphate esters (OPEs), benzophenone and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) in 411 water samples from 140 Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs) from Spain, to evaluate the impact of these pollutants in sites of environmental relevance. Lifestyle compounds, pharmaceuticals and OPEs were the most ubiquitous chemical families, while pesticides and PFASs showed a detection frequency below 25% of the samples. The mean concentrations detected ranged from 0.1 to 301 ng/L. According to spatial data, agricultural surface has been identified as the most important source of all OMPs in natural areas. Lifestyle compounds and PFASs have been related to the presence of artificial surface and wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) discharges, which were also an important source of pharmaceuticals to surface waters. Fifteen out of 59 OMPs have been found at levels posing a high risk for the aquatic IBAs ecosystems, being the insecticide chlorpyrifos, the antidepressant venlafaxine and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) the most concerning compounds. This is the first study to quantify water pollution in IBAs and evidence that OMPs are an emerging threat to freshwater ecosystems that are essential for biodiversity conservation.
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Cigarette butts (CBs) are one of the most common, long-lasting, and toxic forms of marine and coastal area debris. Although the significance of CBs and the toxic contents of this waste items are well recognized, but there is still a lack of information about the effects of this waste on the aquatic organisms. Therefore in this study, the in-vivo toxic effects of various CBs leachates (smoked cigarette butts with tobacco [SCBs], smoked CBs without tobacco [SFs], and unsmoked filters [USFs]) on cellular and chemical hematologic markers in fish (Periophthalmus waltoni) were evaluated. In three acute, sub-acute, and sub-chronic exposure measurements, P. waltoni exposed to different CBs leachates showed a significant increase in white blood cells, creatine kinase, lactate dehydrogenase, alkaline phosphatase, alanine transaminase, and aspartate transaminase, as well as a decrease in hemoglobin (Hb) levels. The mean ± SD values of Hb in P. waltoni species exposed to different CBs leachates (control, SCBs, SFs and USFs) in acute (1 day) phase were 7.15 ± 0.34, 6.02 ± 0.29, 6.25 ± 0.25 and 6.89 ± 0.1 g/dl respectively. These values in subacute (28 days) phase were 6.70 ± 0.15, 5.19 ± 0.24, 5.67 ± 0.30 and 6.10 ± 0.24 g/dl and in sub chronic exposure (42 days) phase were 7.20 ± 0.40, 5.16 ± 0.30, 5.88 ± 0.34 and 6.60 ± 0.33 g/dl respectively. Our results showed that CBs leachates act as a stressor, leading to changes in some hematologic markers in P. waltoni species. Because of the continued deposition of CBs waste into global aquatic environments, policies to mitigate this waste in coastal areas are needed to prevent potentially negative effects on fish and other aquatic organisms.
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Due to climate change, cities need to adapt to changing rainfall and rainwater run-off dynamics. In order to develop an corresponding process based run-off model for pavements, we had to improve the measurement technique to detect run-off dynamics in an appropriate high resolution. Traditional tipping buckets (TB) have a comparable low volume resolution, capable to quantify the highest intensities in a range of expected flows. This results in varying temporal resolutions for varying flow intensities, especially in low resolutions for small flow events. Therefore, their applicability for run-off measurements and other hydrological process studies is limited, especially when the dynamics of both small and big flow events shall be described. We improved a TB by coupling it to a balance and called it weighable tipping bucket (WTB). This paper introduces the device set up and the according data processing concept. The improved volume and temporal resolution of the WTB are demonstrated. A systematic uncertainty of TB measurements compared to WTB measurements is calculated. The impact of that increased resolution on our understanding of run-off dynamics from paved urban soils are discussed, exemplary for the run-off and the surface storage of a paved urban soil. The study was conducted on a permeably paved lysimeter situated in Berlin, Germany. Referring to the paved surface, the TB has a resolution of 0.1 mm, while the WTB has a resolution of 0.001 mm. The temporal resolution of the WTB is 3 s, the TB detects individual tippings with 0.4 s between them. Therefore, the data processing concept combines both the benefits of the balance to measure small intensities with that of the TB to measure high flow intensities. During a five months period (July to November 2009) 154 rain events were detected. Accordingly, the TB and WTB detected 47 and 121 run-off events. The total run-off was 79.6 mm measured by the WTB which was 11% higher than detected by the TB. 95% of that difference can be appointed to water, which evaporated from the TB. To derive a surface storage estimation, we analyzed the WTB and TB data for rain events without run-off. According to WTB data, the surface storage of the permeable pavement is 1.7 mm, while using TB data leads to an overestimation of 47% due to low volume resolution of the TB. Combining traditional TB with modern, fast, high resolution digital balances offers the opportunity to upgrade existing TB systems in order to improve their volume detection limit and their temporal resolution, which is of great advantage for the synchronization of water balance component measurements and the investigation of hydrological processes.
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BACKGROUND: Despite the high global burden of diseases caused by tobacco, valid and comparable prevalence data for patterns of adult tobacco use and factors influencing use are absent for many low-income and middle-income countries. We assess these patterns through analysis of data from the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS). METHODS: Between Oct 1, 2008, and March 15, 2010, GATS used nationally representative household surveys with comparable methods to obtain relevant information from individuals aged 15 years or older in 14 low-income and middle-income countries (Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Mexico, Philippines, Poland, Russia, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, Uruguay, and Vietnam). We compared weighted point estimates and 95% CIs oftobacco use between these 14 countries and with data from the 2008 UK General Lifestyle Survey and the 2006-07 US Tobacco Use Supplement to the Current Population Survey. All these surveys had cross-sectional study designs. FINDINGS: In countries participating in GATS, 48·6% (95% CI 47·6-49·6) of men and 11·3% (10·7-12·0) of women were tobacco users. 40·7% of men (ranging from 21·6% in Brazil to 60·2% in Russia) and 5·0% of women (0·5% in Egypt to 24·4% in Poland) in GATS countries smoked atobacco product. Manufactured cigarettes were favoured by most smokers (82%) overall, but smokeless tobacco and bidis were commonly used in India and Bangladesh. For individuals who had ever smoked daily, women aged 55-64 years at the time of the survey began smoking at an older age than did equivalently aged men in most GATS countries. However, those individuals who had ever smoked daily and were aged 25-34-years when surveyed started to do so at much the same age in both sexes. Quit ratios were very low (<20% overall) in China, India, Russia, Egypt, and Bangladesh. INTERPRETATION: The first wave of GATS showed high rates of smoking in men, early initiation of smoking in women, and low quit ratios, reinforcing the view that efforts to prevent initiation and promote cessation of tobacco use are needed to reduce associated morbidity and mortality.
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This article reports the results from a large-scale study of littering behavior. Findings are reported from coded observations of the littering behavior among 9,757 individuals at 130 outdoor public locations in the United States. The focus was on littering behavior of any item, but a separate sample is also reported on the littering behavior of only smokers. For smokers, the observed littering rate for cigarette butts was 65%. Results from the general littering observations showed that of all the disposal behaviors observed, 17% resulted in litter. Statistical analyses using multilevel modeling showed that age (negatively) was predictive of individual littering. At the level of the site, the presence of existing litter (positively) and the availability of trash receptacles (negatively) predicted littering. Supplemental analyses showed that among individuals who disposed of an item, distance to the receptacle was positively predictive of littering. Implications for litter prevention strategies are discussed.
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Across 14 different outdoor settings in 8 states, the authors interviewed 102 disposers to examine how littering behavior is affected by environmental factors, social norms, demographic characteristics, and self-reported motivations. Observations revealed that 25% of all disposals were littered, and the most commonly littered item was cigarette butts. Participants were less likely to litter in locations with more receptacles available and with receptacles positioned so they could be easily reached.Younger participants, who reported weaker personal norms against littering, were more likely to litter. Implications of this work suggested the necessity of adequate receptacle availability and accessibility, especially cigarette-butt receptacles. In addition, antilittering campaigns were advised to direct their appeals to those most at risk for littering—targets under the age of 30.
The waterbodies of the Berlin region are intensively used for different purposes. High importance is given to the water supply to gain drinking water from groundwater and bank filtrate and for the recharge of groundwater. For these applications a good surface water quality would be an advantage, but the water bodies are loaded with treated sewage, stormwater and combined sewer overflow. This leads to quality problems in the water bodies, especially eutrophication, requiring scientifically based water quality targets for phosphorus. Measures for the reduction of eutrophication in rivers and lakes are presented in this paper, illustrating two different situations, that have been achieved through Berlin's efforts at reducing phosphorus loading.
Urban water systems consist of large-scale technical systems and both natural and man-made water bodies. The technical systems are essential components of urban infrastructure for water collection, treatment, storage and distribution, as well as for wastewater and runoff collection and subsequent treatment. Urban aquatic ecosystems are typically subject to strong human influences, which impair the quality of surface and ground waters, often with far-reaching impacts on downstream aquatic ecosystems and water users. The various surface and subsurface water bodies in urban environments can be viewed as interconnected compartments that are also extensively intertwined with a range of technical compartments of the urban water system. As a result, urban water systems are characterized by fluxes of water, solutes, gases and energy between contrasting compartments of a technical, natural or hybrid nature. Referred to as urban water interfaces, boundaries between and within these compartments are often specific to urban water systems. Urban water interfaces are generally characterized by steep physical and biogeochemical gradients, which promote high reaction rates. We hypothesize that they act as key sites of processes and fluxes with notable effects on overall system behaviour. By their very nature, urban water interfaces are heterogeneous and dynamic. Therefore, they increase spatial heterogeneity in urban areas and are also expected to contribute notably to the temporal dynamics of urban water systems, which often involve non-linear interactions and feedback mechanisms. Processes at and fluxes across urban water interfaces are complex and less well understood than within well-defined, homogeneous compartments, requiring both empirical investigations and new modelling approaches at both the process and system level. We advocate an integrative conceptual framework of the urban water system that considers interfaces as a key component to improve our fundamental understanding of aquatic interface processes in urban environments, advance understanding of current and future system behaviour, and promote an integrated urban water management.
The waterbodies of the Berlin region are intensively used for different purposes. High importance is given to the water supply to gain drinking water from groundwater and bank filtrate and for the recharge of groundwater. For these applications a good stuface water quality would be an advantage, but the water bodies are loaded with treated sewage, stormwater and combined sewer overflow. This leads to quality problems in the water bodies, especially eutrophication, requiring scientifically based water quality targets for phosphorus. Measures for the reduction of eutrophication in rivers and lakes are presented in this paper, illustrating two different situations, that have been achieved through Berlin's efforts at reducing phosphorus loading.