It is nature that nurtured and nurtures to this day both humans and all other animal species. We, humans, being the intelligent species give mediocre attention to everything else in the environment. Do you think it’s fair that the other species in the world have to face the consequences of SOME humans’ reckless actions? Fair or not, it’s happening! This mommy-bird had no idea what she fed her little one and inarguably, humans are to blame.
This heartbreaking image was captured by Karen Mason at a beach in Florida, US. The photograph was shot right at the moment when a black skimmer mother bird picked up a discarded cigarette butt lying on the beach and put it in her chick’s beak. The black skimmer was certainly happy to feed breakfast to her chick but little did she know about her choice of food. Of course, the chick had no choice but to trust her clueless mommy-bird.
Mason posted the devastating moment on her Facebook page captioning “If you smoke, please don’t leave your butts behind”. She further said that it is about time we clean up our beaches and stopped using them as ashtrays. After the picture went viral, many media had asked her to republish it.
The Florida Fish and Wild Life Conservation Commission stated that skimmers nest on the sand along beaches from May to early September. With cigarettes being the most collected item on beaches, for decades sometimes, this kind of situation is hard to avoid.
Contrary to popular belief, it is not just cigarette smoke that causes manifold impacts on the environment. Cigarette butts also pose a significant threat, despite being tiny and easily go unnoticed. Owing to a total of 1.3 billion smokers worldwide, a handful of trillions of cigarette butts make their way to the environment every year. No wonder one of these landed in the beak of a little oblivious creature.
Cigarette butts are made of cellulose acetate, a chemical compound that can take up to 10 years to decompose. Even if the butt somehow decomposes, it would have already released many other chemicals that would last beyond the life span of the butt.
The beaches – let alone the world – is not your ashtray. So, for the sake of all the other species who share this world with us, if you can’t mind your habits, at least take the cigarette butt with you.