Graduation Year

Spring 2012

Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Environmental Analysis

Reader 1

Colin J. Beck

Rights Information

© 2011 Joyce Lee


Cigarette butts are rapidly accumulating on our planet; trillions of them are discarded every year. In this paper, I examine why cigarette litter is a problem. I first discuss the biodegradability of filters and its scientific basis, including ways to enhance degradation rates by chemically manipulating filters. I also talk about the persistence of cigarette chemicals and their potential toxic effects on children and animals. I consider other social, economic, and environmental consequences of cigarette filters and chemicals. Furthermore, I discuss various solutions smokers and non-smokers alike have created to address the problem of cigarette litter; these methods come from a wide range of artistic, science-based, and policy-based perspectives. Finally, my thesis examines this issue in the context of a college campus – Pomona College in Claremont, CA. I discuss a map showing the number of cigarette litter around buildings and sidewalks on campus and consider factors that influence the location and high counts of litter. Finally, I make recommendations for the college based on my findings.


Senior thesis submitted in December 2011.