Smoking is causing environmental contamination, and this needs to be stopped!
Love visiting beaches, mountains, or maybe a nearby park? Is it common for you to be bothered by the waste in these calm places? Wrappers, plastic bottles, and straws are the majority of the waste types that you will find littered around. But have you ever stumbled upon cigarette waste—the cigarette filter or butts that have never been handled with care?
But a cigarette is made of paper, and it might biodegrade, right? No. Cigarette butts are plastic. They are made of cellulose acetate, a man-made plastic material.
Cigarette butts are often overlooked due to their small size, but statistics show that they have been the major polluters until now.
See the facts and figures to know how smoking is causing environmental contamination
- According to the numbers, 4.5 trillion pieces of cigarette butts are dumped each year.
- Cleanups that have been conducted since the 1980s have observed that cigarette butts consistently made up 30 to 40 percent of all items.
- These cigarette butts photodegrade into smaller pieces, causing microplastic pollution.
- Not only the plastic, but the chemicals in these butts are toxic as well. As per the study, toxins released from a single cigarette butt can kill 50% of saltwater and freshwater fish exposed to them for 96 hours.
- Since 1970, more than 1.5 billion hectares of tropical forest have been lost due to tobacco.
- As per the WHO, “every year the tobacco industry costs 600 million trees, 200 thousand hectares of land, 22 billion tonnes of water, and 84 million tonnes of CO2.”
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The chemicals used in the cigarette filters contain arsenic, lead, and nicotine. Arsenic has also been used in rat poisoning, and lead is known to impact brain function. Not only are there cigarettes butts everywhere, but every single cigarette is harmful to your health.
Tobacco companies have been displaying warning messages on packs about the dangers of smoking. But the size of the global tobacco market is expected to rise at a CAGR of 2.4% from 2022 to 2030.
In 2019, USD 8.9 billion was spent to market smokeless tobacco. But spending heavily to market products that are equally deadly will not benefit any of the living species.
Asia and Africa have been seeing a continuous rise in smokers, with no major actions being taken by any authorities to control the usage of these products.
Rather than using more resources to clean up cigarette litter, it is best to deal with it at the source. A ban on the production of tobacco products will save not only lives but this planet, and that’s far more important than economies revolving around tobacco.
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