On Derik Lopes’ first day on the job as a maintenance worker, he swept up enough cigarette butts to fill five large dustpans — in just two hours.
“Look,” Lopes said Thursday, gesturing at the tiny white flecks crowding the crevices in the ground. “My boss said, ‘Look at all the cigarettes. You have to clean.’ ”
Alongside coffee cups and pigeons, cigarette butts have become one of those ubiquitous details that litter our urban landscape. According to one science journal, some 4.5-trillion cigarettes are tossed on the ground every year worldwide, leaching toxic chemicals into waterways and creating hazards for wildlife.