What's it all about?
They are everywhere: on the street, in the gutter, in the forest, on beaches, and in our waters. Cigarette filters are the most widespread plastic waste (WHO 2017). They don't necessarily look like plastic, but they are made of cellulose acetate - a non-biodegradable plastic.
What's the problem?
Cigarette filters collect some of the toxins from the smoke of the cigarette. In total, there are over 4,000 different toxins, 40 of which are carcinogenic in humans (Slaughter et al. 2011). These toxins are released from the filter when they come into contact with water. Just one cigarette filter per liter of water is enough to kill half of the living creatures in it (WHO 2017). Every year, an estimated 4.5 trillion of these plastic filters are carelessly disposed of in the environment (Slaughter et al. 2011).
What can I do?
Don't throw your cigarette butts on the ground, but dispose of them in an ashtray or rubbish bin. If there is no bin nearby, collect your butts and take them with you until you can dispose of them properly. Even if it is unpleasant, collect cigarette filters from the environment and dispose of them in the residual waste. Make others aware of the problem of cigarette filters in the environment. Only together can the cigarette problem be solved.