Thankfully, people are starting to wake up to the reality of the problem.

We've heard a lot about the dangers of plastic straws and other plastic items, like utensils. They don't degrade and end up harming animals in various ecosystems, including the ocean. As a report by NBC News points out, though, they are not the greatest ocean pollutant today. That honor belongs to cigarette butts, which are the number one man - made contaminant in the world's oceans.

Cigarette butts are a two - pronged assault on the environment. The filters are made of plastic that is not biodegradable and the chemicals in butt are toxic, poisoning water and food sources for ocean life. Cigarette butts are also a problem on land, as they are the 'most littered item in the world' according to Truth.com. Cigwaste.org created a video showing how deadly just one cigarette butt is to aquatic life.

Click here to read what some activist groups and politicians are planning to combat the problem of cigarette butt pollution.