Smoking is no longer causing harm to smokers only. Cigarette butts have now emerged as the biggest form of litter that is polluting the environment. It has been recently found that cigarette butts have become the most commonly littered item across the United States of America as well as around the world.
Cigarettes have become a plague on our planet. According to the latest statistics the main reason for this burgeoning pollution is for 2 reasons; first of all, there is a huge lack of awareness on the part of smokers, and secondly, there is a lack of availability of waste bins at most transition locations like on the streets, in public transport, and outside shops and public places.
It is surprising to note that almost 77% of the people included in the survey have reacted saying they did not think of cigarette butts as a form of litter. It has also been noted that public places that have a waste bin see a 9% drop in cigarette litter in that specific area.
The core part of most cigarette filters that appears like white cotton is actually a kind of plastic. This plastic is called cellulose acetate and by itself, this cellulose acetate is very slow to degrade in the environment. Based on the conditions of the particular area where the cigarette butt has been discarded, each one might take up to 18 months to 10 years to decompose.
However, this is not the worst part. A used cigarette filter is full of toxins that might leach into the soil and waterways. This leads to the damaging of living organisms that come into contact with the toxins. Most of the filters that get discarded with a little amount of tobacco still in them further lead to polluting the environment with nicotine that is extremely poisonous.
Cigarette Butts Are A Severe Pollutant
The world is turning to cheap consumerism that is offering all humans toxic products at a very cheap price. This is creating an 8th continent floating in the water bodies. This is made up of the mass junk that is regularly being dumped into our oceans and consists of plastic and many other non-biodegradable objects floating over the ocean. This toxic garbage is poisoning and suffocating marine life.
The irresponsible acts by humans are choking the biodiversity. One such severe incident had recently emerged on social media and taken the netizens by shock. The video that went viral showed sea turtles in great pain because of the reason that their nostrils had been blocked by straws that were stuck inside. Millions of other animals also die every single day.
On the other hand, the constant viral videos have led to some amount of awareness and protests against the irresponsible litter and dumping in the oceans that have considerably risen. Plastic straws, cutlery, and other items make a huge ocean waste.
Nonetheless, cigarette butts have certainly become the most commonplace and sinister ocean waste that is usually not taken into consideration. The reason is due to the sheer commonality of this item. It has been known that cigarette filters make up approximately 5.6 trillion of garbage dumped in the oceans. Moreover, 60 million cigarette butts have been collected from the ocean beaches in the last 32 years that makes it one of the largest litters.
Since 1900, cigarette filters had been first invented in order to reduce health risks but now it has turned into an enormous disaster. Professor Novotny had conducted a study in 2011 and has successfully managed to discover that every attempt in preventing the consumption of cigarettes has been unsuccessful. In addition to this, all attempts in placing anti-litter posters, ashtrays, and conducting awareness events have also dramatically failed.
There have been several online campaigns known as the Cigarette Butt Pollution Project. Numerous tobacco products along with cigarettes have created a huge legislators’ nightmare. For instance, Marlboro has for the longest time been engaged in one of the most complicated trials in Indonesia. The sales team is targeting the under-age children and poor people for the consumer base.
Anti-filter legislations in the US have failed to be implemented and have continuously remained paperwork. Nevertheless, it can also be considered that people have begun showing awareness and sensitivity towards smoking and the irresponsible dumping of cigarette butts.
All over the world, government bodies have taken significant steps to curb this pollutant. The environmentalists in the US have strived on pushing forwards the legislation for the banning of filters or increasing the price of cigarettes that will fund the clean-up drives. Furthermore, a theme park in France has started training its rooks on cleaning the litter of cigarette butts.
It is also important to remember that the irresponsible throwing of cigarette butts can cause big fires that ravage vast vegetation and forest lands and kill wildlife. Cigarette-induced fires have claimed thousands of lives in the US and incurs millions of property damage.
There are a staggering number of smokers all over the planet that further increases the risk and pollution. Almost 10 million cigarettes are bought by people every minute across the world. Meanwhile, 15 billion are sold every day and more than 5 trillion are produced and used on an annual basis. All these statistics clearly show that cigarette butt pollution needs to be taken seriously and curbed as the soonest.