TINY BUT DEADLY CIGARETTE BUTTS ARE A MAJOR PROBLEM TO THE ENVIRONMENT ( AND ALSO YOUE HEALTH)
A single cigarette butt can pollute 40 litres of groundwater. How, you ask? Cigarette filters are made from cellulose acetate, a kind of plastic that doesn't readily biodegrade, although when they do break down, send thousands of tiny plastic fibres into the environment. As cigarettes are smokes, chemicals, including arsenic (used in 🐀rat poisoning), lead (a poison that can affect the 🧠brain development of children), copper, and nicotine, are concentrated in the filter; later, these same chemicals seep into aquatic ecosystems, where they are acutely toxic to fish and microorganisms.
For example, over half of all 🐋whale and 🐬dolphin species have been recorded eating plastic they had mistaken for food and a recent UK research project found that all whales and dolphins examined had plastic in their digestive systems. Birds also mistake the filters for food and ingest plastic and toxins. It can take up to 400 years for a cigarette butt to degrade in saltwater, but this doesn't mean that it disappears; plastic fibres from the filter remain as microplastics in the ocean. Eventually, these marine animals are eaten by another particular animal in the food chain... you guessed it, humans! 👨👩👧👦
Breathe that in for a second.
Plastic filters were invented in the 1950s in response to lung cancer fears. By the mid-1960s, researchers realised that the substances being filtered, like nicotine, were what made cigarettes satisfying, so manufactures made filters less effective. Today, 98 percent of cigarette filters are made of plastic fibres.
In 2003, e-cigarettes were introduced and started to cause a massive decline in cigarette smoking starting from the year 2018. Instead of celebrating lesser cigarettes being produced, and lesser cigarette butts waste in the environment, e-cigarettes waste is even worse for the environment because there are 3 forms of waste in one: plastic waste, hazardous waste, and electronic waste (e-waste). But we will further discuss e-cigarettes next time.
Increasing consumer awareness towards environment toxicity and dangers posed by discarding cigarette and e-cigarette related waste into landfills, and encouraging smokers and vapours to quit using these products altogether ar the best ways to protect the environment from tobacco product waste.
It's time for a change! Either stop smoking or think twice before flicking it off and discard it properly to prevent trashing the environment or electric, we will kick your butts!