Cigarette butts are the main source of ocean debris, according to a new report by Ocean Conservancy, beating food wrappers, plastic bottles and caps and plastic bags.
The toxins of the butts are consumed by the fish, which end up inside our bodies.
60 million butts
Since the 1980s, this NGO has cleaned more than 60 million cigarette butts, and the number currently circulating in the ocean exceeds any other form of garbage. It is a disastrous reality for animals that live in the seas.
First of all, cellulose acetate, a form of plastic, that it contains is not as inconsequential to the environment as we thought. In fact, a recent Business Insider article found that the remains of cigarette butts thrown up can appear on our tables:
Until the filters begin to decompose, they also release all the pollutants they absorb from smoke, including substances such as nicotine, arsenic and lead. These, as well as decaying plastic, are consumed by various sea creatures and, if that is not horrible enough, they finally end up in our own food again.
The only way that this widespread problem can be significantly reduced is by applying regulations. Perhaps stricter regulations than those now applied to plastic bags or bottles, even if it starts to rain plastic.