A recent report has found that cigarette butts are the MOST littered item on Earth and not only is the smoke is harmful for everybody, the butts take ages to decompose.
While many smokers believe that tossing out a cigarette butt out of their car or on the beach is a 'somewhat' harmless act, the reality is quite different and pretty sad. On average a smoker smokes 3 cancer sticks a day and there are 7 billion people in the world...assuming only half of them smoke, that is still 10,500,000,000 cigarette butts A YEAR, simply floating in the sea, because well, ultimately all the garbage we humans produce lands up in the ocean. A cigarette packet only costs you a few dollars but it is causing the marine life their lives.
That is correct, cigarette butts are the largest source of pollution in the ocean and millions of sea creatures are dying every year, all because people don't know how to dispose of their garbage like a decent human being. According to NBC, thousands of people sit by the sea and smoke away, leaving their butts behind and in the span of 32 years, more than 60 million cigarette leftovers have been collected from beaches. JUST the beaches. Imagine the amount which is floating in the water.
In the recent few years, various countries have taken strong steps to fight ocean pollution and have put a ban on the use of plastic bags, cups, and straws but cigarettes which pretty much serve no purpose other than polluting the environment in every way possible and delivering you to your untimely death still remain free to use. The small leftovers are often swallowed by fishes and other sea animals causing them to choke and die.
Recently a Californian lawmaker raised the issue of the pollutant which has been kept hush-hush by the tobacco community and urged that cigarettes and cigarettes filters should be banned. “It’s pretty clear there is no health benefit from filters. They are just a marketing tool. And they make it easier for people to smoke,” said Thomas Novotny, a professor of public health at San Diego State University.
“It’s also a major contaminant, with all that plastic waste. It seems like a no-brainer to me that we can’t continue to allow this," he added but his and several others who registered similar complaints were refused and the only change which has been brought to stop cigarette pollution is that some countries have raised the price of cigarettes drastically. San Francisco increased the price by 50% in 2017 to control cig-litter.
Cigarette butts, however, still remain the MOST collected pollutant on beaches. "Cigarette butts leach chemicals and heavy metals into the environment that are toxic to fresh and salt-water fish. They are poisonous when ingested by children and other living organisms," says Cigarette Butt Pollution Project, which aims to fight pollution and put an end to this horrifying cigarette butt disposal condition.
Researchers have found cigarette butts in the remains of over 70 percent seabirds and 30 percent of the sea turtles. The butts people throw away mindlessly are made up of synthetic fibers which take ages to decompose and until then, keep floating in the water and sea creatures mistake them for small fishes and eat them. What's the solution? Because clearly, the government isn't willing to ban cigarettes completely anytime soon? A startup called Greenbutts has designed cigarette filters which are made up of organic materials and ready to hit the market.
But, they are wishing the government spreads the word about it or makes it compulsory for the tobacco industry to use the Greenbutt, “We are hoping governments incentivize the use of the product,” said Lisauskas, one of the founders, “or, at the end of the day, make it mandatory.” Or, you know, we can all stop smoking for good? No? Okay, then at least learn to dispose of your garbage correctly and not kill innocent sea creatures, thanks.