Don’t underestimate cigarette butts !
If you are throwing out your cigarette butts in the street thinking that just one cigarette butt will not make a difference, then you are so mistaken because you are not the only one who is thinking that way. Millions of people think the same way as you do, and as a result, 4.300 billion of cigarette butts are thrown out every year in the street, which corresponds to 137 000 cigarette butts per second according to Eco Volontaire International.
Cigarette butts – Source: http://www.ipj.news
Among the spread ideas is that cigarette butts are biodegradable, which is not. The filters of the cigarettes are made of plastic and therefore, it takes about 12 years for a cigarette butt to disintegrate completely, and meanwhile, dangerous and toxic substances such as chromium, arsenic and cadmium will be released in the environment causing a serious pollution.
What is surprisingly shocking is that one cigarette butt can pollute 500 liters of water making it unfit for consumption. In addition, throughout the last 32 years, 32 million of cigarette butts were collected from beaches around the world.
Cigarettes do not represent a problem just for the oceans – 40% of the garbage found in Mediterranean Sea are only cigarettes butts – but also for cities. In France, between 30 to 40 billion of cigarette butts are thrown out every year, which is around 1 000 cigarette butts per second. And in Paris more precisely, 350 tons of cigarettes butts were collected, costing thousands of euros to the city.
Therefore, additional ways were enforced to limit from the severity of the problem such as awareness campaigns, the installation of 30 000 ashtrays and collectors and imposing a 68€ fine to whoever throws his/her cigarette butts in the street.
Tobacco companies became conscious of the problem generated by the cigarettes and are aware that they could be held responsible for this pollution, and thus, they started looking into new alternatives such as developing biodegradable filters or distributing portable ashtrays. However, according to Cigarette Butt Pollution Project, the simplest way to solve this problem is to ban cigarette’s filters!