Statistics show staggering trillions of cigarette butts every year, making it the most littered trash on the planet. This was revealed by STOP and anti-tobacco organizations.
According to them, billions of smokers’ improper disposal of cigarette butts pile up in streets, parks, beaches, and bus stops. This doesn’t only cause dirty surroundings but also significant environmental harm.
Dustin Poppendieck, a measurement scientist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and his colleagues discovered that a used butt – one that is already cool to the touch – can emit up to 14 percent of the nicotine produced by an active burning cigarette in a single day.
In addition, according to experiments, they found that cigarette butts thrown into water bodies are harmful. The toxins that seep from a single cigarette butt can kill around 50% of saltwater and freshwater fish once they’ve been exposed to them for 96 hours.
Another study published in Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety in 2019 reveals that cigarette butts in the soil can also harm certain plants. These reports alarm environmentalists and urge tobacco companies to take action.
Rebecca Pow, the UK’s Environment Minister, told local tobacco businesses to take the necessary steps to address the issue of millions of cigarette butts littering the streets or risk facing stiffer restrictions.