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This Man Has Made It His Mission To Pick Up One Million Cigarette Butts


As a one man took pictures around his hometown, he noticed one common factor around town: trash. And lots of it. He knew that he couldn’t very well leave it there, so he began picking it up. Little did he know that it would lead him to an even greater mission.

Mess In The Background

Jason Alexander planned to take pictures of 100 sunrises around the coast of Suffolk in southeast England. However, the mounds of trash around the area put a damper on the beautiful photos. “I was moving bits of litter that I would find out of the shot to make the image as good as it could be,” Jason said.

Instagram / Jason Alexander

Passion For The Environment

When Jason finished shooting his photos, he would take all of the trash he picked up home to be thrown out. He began to go out for walks, picking up garbage along the way, and showcasing what he found on Instagram. Jason took his newfound passion for the environment to join a Beach Clean Marathon. He walked 60 miles over six days along Suffolk, picking up trash on 12 beaches. Along the way, he noticed a common problem.

Instagram / Jason Alexander

A Spread Of Cigarettes

Jason noticed that there was a huge amount of cigarette butts scattered wherever he turned. He then began to research more about cigarette filters and cigarette butts. He found that close to 4.5 trillion cigarette butts are thrown out every year on the ground. It’s even the most common piece of trash found on the ground.

Instagram / Jason Alexander

A New Mission

Because of the toxins and plastic in cigarette butts affecting the environment, Jason made it his mission to pick up one million cigarette butts in his area. The very first night of his challenge, he spent an hour picking up cigarettes on a parking lot where a lot of people gathered. He collected 1,789 cigarette butts and posted the photo on Instagram.

Instagram / Jason Alexander

Making Progress

Almost every day since then, Jason has gone out to pick up cigarette butts. He even collaborated with a local charity one weekend to pick up 2,696 cigarette butts. He takes the time to count them every time, marking the count with a notepad and pen. As of October 9, 2018, he’s collected 40,114. A long way to go towards his hefty goal, but he’s making great progress, and bringing awareness to this issue at the same time.

Instagram / Jason Alexander

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