Blog : Cleaning Up Hodgson Brook... How Many Cigarette Butts Are Too Many?

By Katelyn | Apr 30, 2015 | in

Candace Dolan is a guest blogger for the Green Alliance and the Watershed Coordinator of the Hodgson Brook Restoration Project. The Hodgson Brook Watershed spans 2,135 acres in Portsmouth and the brook itself, which is often hidden from view, is visible throughout the Pease Tradeport. Land use and pollution have degraded the freshwater stream and due to these the problems the brook is not listed as an impaired waterway.

Hodgson Brook collects stormwater from 20% of the City of Portsmouth. This seven mile brook is polluted from stormwater, which as it travels to storm drains, washes over lawns, roads and parking lots. On its way to the brook, it picks up excess fertilizer, bacteria from pet waste, oil and grease from vehicles, trash and the cigarette butts that eventually make their way to local beaches.

Last week, two groups of Earth Day volunteers on the Pease Tradeport collected over a pound and a half of cigarette butts from the stream banks and road side near storm drains leading to Hodgson Brook. These remains translate to over 183 packs of cigarettes!

Cigarette butts are the most commonly discarded piece of waste worldwide. It is estimated that 1.69 BILLION pounds of butts wind up as toxic trash each year, creating an enormous environmental, health, and economic burden. Contrary to popular belief, cigarette butts are NOT biodegradable! Cigarette butt waste is a huge environmental issue, with a global impact -- it is both unsightly and unhealthy.

Each time a butt is thrown on a street near the brook, the odds are good that at some point during its 5+ year life span, storm water will eventually wash it into the nearest storm drain.

If you smoke, curb your butts…… PLEASE don’t make others pick them up!

Earth Day is only one of many days where residents can help local efforts to protect the environment. For more opportunities check out the NH Stewardship Network

For more information or to help the Hodgson Brook Restoration Project contact Watershed Coordinator, Candace Dolan at 603-559-1529 or