Lately, quite a few posts regarding pollution have went viral on the internet and for good reason. One of the main forms of plastic we hear about in this regard is plastic straws but recent studies show we are overlooking a very serious contaminant.
Did you know that cigarette butts are the most collected items on the beaches of the worlds? The number one man-made contaminant in the oceans of our world is the cigarette butt. It has gone seemingly unregulated and is doing more damage than you might think.
According to a new report from NBC news, we need to be working to combat this in the ways we do plastics. A campaign known as Cigarette Butt Pollution Project is actually working to ban cigarette filters for that reason. For those who may not know filters on cigarettes are made of something known as cellulose acetate. This is a type of plastic that can take well over a decade to decompose.
NBC News says that over 60 million cigarette butts have been picked up on beaches over a period of about 30 years. Cigarette butts found on the beach, for the most part, are washed up from other places within reason. As they make their way into the ocean they leach chemicals and heavy metals into the water and environment itself that are toxic to the fish living there. Cigarette butts are not as safe as you might think they are.
The CBPP website lists as follows as their mission:
“Our mission is simple… eradicate cigarette butts and tobacco waste from our environment. Cigarette butts are everywhere! Every year, 5 trillion cigarettes are sold globally, and over 287 billion are sold in the United States. Sadly, one out of every three smoked cigarettes ends up dropped on our streets, parks, beaches, and waterways. This has to stop! The Cigarette Butt Pollution Project is dedicated to the elimination of cigarette butt waste from our environment.”
Filters from cigarettes are not biodegradable. Sure, the ultraviolet rays from the sun will eventually break them down but the tiny bits of waste will never truly disappear. While a lot of people assume they make smoking a lot healthier or cleaner, they do not. They don’t make the cigarette any safer at all. You see, according to the NCI and several of their studies, there are no benefits when it comes to opting for a filtered cigarette.
If we are really going to dedicate ourselves to clean up the oceans and keep pollution to a minimum something needs to be done about these cigarette butts. Things like this should not end up in the ocean. Don’t just focus on plastic straws or can rings, there are a lot of things that need attention.