This Is Even Worse Than Plastic Straws When It Comes To Ocean Waste


This Is Even Worse Than Plastic Straws When It Comes To Ocean Waste

Marcelo Alex/Shutterstock

The world has recently enjoyed picking up on plastic straws when it comes to ocean waste, despite them accounting for just 0.02% of ocean waste. However, there are bigger fish to fry.

One of these appears to be cigarette butts, reported NBC News. They also stated it was the number one human-caused contaminant in the oceans, and it has avoided regulation so far.

The primary issue appears to be from cigarette filters, which Thomas Novotny, a professor of public health at San Diego State University, said to NBC News had “no health benefit.” He continued that “we can’t continue to allow this.”

5.6 trillion cigarettes filters (2/3 of which are dumped irresponsibly) made around the world every year are composed of cellulose acetate, that can take over a decade to decompose. Since 1986 cigarettes have been the most collected item of ocean beaches, with approximately 60 million discovered in 32 years.

Filters were invented in the mid-1900s to relieve health concerns from cigarettes, but have now become a serious problem. A 2011 study by Professor Novotny discovered that getting smokers to stop flicking the ends of their cigarettes was hard, with anti-litter policies and campaigns, as well as permanent ashtrays, being unsuccessful.

A campaign by the name of Cigarette Butt Pollution Project is currently hoping to change attitudes towards cigarette filters. Some provision have already been made to tackle the problem around the globe. In the United States, attempts have been made to pass legislation to ban filters, or raising cigarette pack costs to cover clean-up funds.

While the battle against plastic straws is undoubtedly good news – showing how easy it is to make a small change to your everyday life – there's still much further to go to clean up our oceans. Cracking down on cigarette butts would be a good step.



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Thinking Humanity: This Is Even Worse Than Plastic Straws When It Comes To Ocean Waste
This Is Even Worse Than Plastic Straws When It Comes To Ocean Waste
The world has recently enjoyed picking up on plastic straws when it comes to ocean waste, despite them accounting for just 0.02% of ocean waste.
Thinking Humanity
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