In the past few years, there has been a massive decrease in the production of plastic straws. Instead, it has been replaced with alternatives, including paper, metal, and glass straws. Restaurants have even come up with alternative straws like pasta straws, in the effort to reduce plastic waste that reaches the ocean.
Even though a big portion of the world is opting for non-plastic straws, there is still a major source of plastic affecting the ocean. 6.5 trillion cigarettes annually, that is.
Approximately 18 billion cigarette buds reach the ocean every single day. Thinking about that number, it seems unrealistic and like someone made the estimate up. However, it is true, and it affects sea life, as well as the quality of the ocean, as there are still chemicals present in what’s left of a cigarette after smoking it.
The Dangers of Cigarette Buds
In truth, only a third of cigarette buds actually make it to the trash piles we all imagine where everything eventually ends up at. However, two thirds thereof end up in the ocean due to people throwing their cigarette buds out the window. Since cigarette filters contain cellulose acetate, which is a toxic plastic, along with nicotine, chemicals, and metals, there are countless hazardous substances that get absorbed into the environment.
Apart from affecting the oceans negatively, it also affects plant growth and water stored underground. It affects water, land, plants, and countless marine mammals. Given what cigarette buds can do to humans, one can only imagine what it does to the lungs of sea creatures underwater.
There is currently a great effort being implemented to reduce plastic waste, but cigarette brands are yet to address the plastic they use to make cigarettes. Currently, it seems like an impossible endeavor to decrease the probability of cigarette buds entering the ocean every day. Unfortunately, people will only stop discarding it once they respect the ocean and environment.