Think plastic is the world’s number one contributor when it comes to ocean pollution? Well, here’s an eye-opener. The major contaminant at the sea is cigarette butts (filters to be precise). It has been found that cigarette butt is ‘the most littered’ item in the world.
In the last three decades, more than 60 million cigarette butts have been collected from beaches from across the world, reported NBC news.
Out of the human-created waste at the beach which includes bottle caps, wrappers, plastic bottles and utensils collected since 1986, cigarette butts amounted to more than one-third of it.
Cellulose acetate, a form of plastic used in cigarette filters leech into the ocean and rivers and take more than a decade to completely decompose. Every year, almost 5.6 trillion cigarettes with synthetic filters are manufactured. And, two-thirds of those cigarettes with plastic filters are dumped irresponsibly.
Other than synthetic fibres, cigarette filers contain hundreds of harmful non-biodegradable chemicals too, making it all the more difficult to decompose.
Occasionally, cigarette manufacturing brands try to explore alternatives to synthetic filters to avoid contributing to non-biodegradable waste but the variants have made the smoke taste harsh, so a real, practical solution, an edible or organic variety of filters, was never dedicatedly worked upon.