Cigarette butts are so small and are more likely to go unnoticed. But, “small things, done consistently, add up to be big in the long run.” Likewise, cigarette butts have crammed every hook and corner in the world. These 270 volunteers have proven this by collecting nearly 300,000 cigarette butts within the city of Brussels in just 3 hours.
The core of the world’s pollution seems to be centralized around plastic: plastic bottles, carry bags, plastic straws, and countless other colorful objects. Major corporations have already taken the initiate against the plastic crisis. Starbucks, McDonald’s, Hyatt, and Marriott have launched bans against plastic straws.
Indeed plastics pose a threat to life and nature on earth. But, the threat posed by cigarette butts cannot be left unconsidered. As a matter of fact, cigarette butts are the most abundant mad-made pollutant on earth.
What Makes Cigarette Butts A Threat?
Though tiny, cigarette butts are evil to the core. Did you know that cigarette butts contain the plastic “cellulose acetate” that may take up to 10 years to biodegrade? In addition, there are around 4000 non-biodegradable chemicals in them. If accumulated in waterways – they most certainly do – it can harm living organisms that come into contact with them.
Also, there’s nicotine, a poisonous and addictive stimulant present in the discarded filter. On the bright side, it’s not as difficult to give up on nicotine as heroin.
Since every smoker out there does not bother to carry a mini ashtray or dispose of the butt in a trash can, the world has become a universal ashtray.
Fortunately, some responsible humans have taken the initiative to bring light to this matter. The Cigarette Butt Pollution Project is one such initiative aiming to take the path full of barriers up to banning cigarette butts.
Another scheme is the Ocean Conservancy. They sponsor to clean up one beach every year. Cigarette butts have been the single most collected waste from beaches for 32 successive years. Up until now, 60 million cigarette butts have been cleaned up from beaches. It equivalents to 1/3rd of all the collected waste such as wrappers, bottle caps, containers, bottles, and eating utensils, all combined.
Nick Mallos, the director of the Trash Free Seas campaign for the Ocean Conservancy told NBC News, “More research is needed to determine exactly what happens to all of that. The final question is what impact these micro-plastics and other waste have on human health.”
Measures taken by those who take this matter seriously like the volunteers in Brussels remind the others about the danger. Unless everyone takes the matter into the hand, WE will lose.