BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — The Cahaba Riverkeeper is pleading to the public to properly dispose of vaping devices. As e-cigarette usage has skyrocketed in popularity, so has the number of vaping products and accessories they’ve seen in the watershed. 

David Butler, the Cahaba Riverkeeper, explains that the effect of lithium ion batteries and vaping chemicals has on local wildlife and waterways is still unknown. But the rise in the amount of devices ending up in the river, Butler says is cause for concern.

Vaping devices like the one pictured above have increasingly been found in the Cahaba Riverkeeper.

“It has the battery in it, it has the chemicals that are used in the vape juice, metal, plastic, the wrapping,” Butler said. “What impact will that have on the environment? We don’t know.”

Vaping devices aren’t necessarily less environmentally harmful than cigarettes either.

“There’s a lot of hope that vaping would offset the damage that smoking cigarettes did. But it seems to be just a different type of litter with a lot of impacts that we don’t even understand yet.”

Butler asks folks to properly dispose of their vaping devices. He also calls on the manufacturers and sellers of the devices to alleviate the issue. He says the disposability of the devices has only aggravated the issue.

“We need the people who produce and sell these devices to provide an outlet to recycle them – to mitigate some of the harm that comes from buying a battery, using it for a week and throwing it in the landfill.”

Butler calls on manufacturers to provide option to recycle.

Butler asks those who vape to properly dispose of their devices and accessories.