The awareness of pollution, particularly in our oceans, is on the rise every day due to campaigns, initiatives, and a number of eye-opening documentaries.
The younger generation is really working hard to clear up pollution and waste. They are campaigning against climate change and its impact on our health.
The first thing that comes to our mind when considering pollution of our ocean is straws, bottle caps, cotton buds, and other plastic products. But cigarette butts have become the real problem, is the single biggest source of waste ending up in our oceans.
Irreparable damage can be caused by these filters to our oceans and their wildlife with the astronomical number of them and their small size. They are easily ingested by animals and found almost everywhere.
The cigarette industry has remained quiet about the imposing issue and it’s concerning while governments and big brands are fighting against this issue.
Activists have come together to campaign to have cigarette filters banned. The focus is not only being bolstered by environmental activists, it has also focused on links with human health.
A California lawmaker, a leading tobacco industry academic and a worldwide surfing organization are on board among these.
The single most collected item on beaches worldwide in cleanup operations is Cigarette butts. It is recorded with a staggering count of over 60 million being collected in 32 years.
Thomas Novotny, a professor of public health at San Diego State University, said:
“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.
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.”
A ban on cigarettes with filters has proposed by an assemblyman in California. But the committee didn’t allow his proposal to go out. A NY senator has also created legislation where a rebate for the return of cigarette butts to ‘redemption centers’ could be offered even though the idea has been delayed.
San Francisco has so far been the most successful aiding in the costs associated with beach cleanup projects. They have charged a 60 cent fee per pack purchased, raising roughly $3mil a year in revenue.
One of America’s largest anti-smoking organizations, The Truth Initiative, has been battling to cut out filters, launching a recent campaign urging people to cut down. The Cigarette Butt Pollution Project is also aiming at this.
5.6 trillion Cigarettes are produced annually worldwide, with the majority made with cellulose acetate filters. Cellulose acetate is a form of plastic that takes decades to decompose.