Why should we pick up cigarette butts?

Hello lovers of the sea!

Today we from Terra Azul want to address a topic that is particularly important to us: The disposal of cigarette butts. While walking along the beach in the lunch break, we started collecting cigarette butts from the ground. The used cup (see below!) was filled in less than 30 minutes. This is no surprise, as around 750. 000 tonnes of cigarette butts are dumped into the environment each year! We then started looking at the impact of these butts on the marine environment and where shocked.

Cigarette filters are not only often made out of non-biodegradable materials (which is a problem of its own!) but also contain all the carcinogens (cancer causing substances), nicotine and other toxins you find in the tobacco product before smoking. The problem is that these chemicals leach out into the water. One cigarette butt contaminates more than 7 liters of water in one hour. And this water is lethal to aquatic life.

What to do?

Using biodegradable filters will not solve the problem, as the chemicals will still pollute the water! So this is not the answer. The solution lies in making sure the butts are being disposed in a way that they can’t enter the water. If you smoke yourself you could carry a portable ashtray or reconsider your smoking habit 😊

Also, please help us to pick up the waste you find! Our planet belongs to everyone, so its time to act responsible 😊 Thank you for reading!

Levina Steinkönig

About Levina Steinkönig

Levina is student of Coastal and Marine Management at Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences in Leeuwarden, and is fascinated by the sea and sea creatures. Joined the TERRA AZUL team as Volunteer Marine Wildlife Guide in 2018, we hope she can get in touch soon to visit us and share updates for this profile.

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