Thanks to many concerned efforts from different people our awareness of ocean pollution is on the rise every day.
It’s a great thing that young people today are making efforts to clear up pollution and waste and also mount campaigns against climate change.
Usually when someone thinks of ocean pollution, they think mainly about plastic and other harmful materials, at least that’s what’s on the news all the time. It is surprising then that it has been found out that the biggest source of pollution in the oceans today are actually cigarette butts!
Great damage is being done to our oceans by the filters. There is an insane amount of them in the waters and because they are small many animals are ingesting them and they are found almost everywhere.
Governments and big brans are making efforts against this while big tobacco has remained silent which is quite concerning.
Many activists are making a push to ban cigarette filters together. Their focus is not only on the environmental effects but also on human health issues.
Part of these activists is a California lawmaker, a leading tobacco industry academic and a worldwide surfing organization.
The most collected item on beaches worldwide is actually cigarette butts with a staggering 60 million of them collected in a span of 30 years.
Thomas Novothy, 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 plsastic waste. It seems like a no-brainer to me that we can’t continue to allow this.”
A Californian assemblyman proposed a ban on cigarette butts but the committee didn’t let his proposal to pass. Also a senator in NY created legislation where cigarette butts will be returned to “redemption centers” but his idea is unfortunately delayed.
The most successful so far has been San Francisco. They are charging a 60 cent fee for every pack of cigarettes. They have raised 3$ million so far with this fee and the revenue is used to help the beach cleaning efforts.
Another organization that’s fighting this is The Truth Initiative, one of USA’s biggest anti-smoking entities. They launched a campaign to urging people to cut down on smoking. The Cigarette Butt pollution Project has the same goal.
Just think about this: 5.6 trillion cigarettes are made every year, most of them are made from cellulose acetate, a form of plastic that takes decades to biodegrade.