How large are the annual losses caused by plastic pollution resulting from cigarette butts?! How large are the annual losses caused by plastic pollution resulting from cigarette butts?!

How large are the annual losses caused by plastic pollution resulting from cigarette butts?!

How large are the annual losses caused by plastic pollution resulting from cigarette butts?!

Environmental pollution from plastics in cigarette butts and packaging costs an estimated US$26 billion each year.

According to an analysis of data published online in the journal Tobacco Control, this means that governments around the world incur losses worth US$186 billion every 10 years, taking into account losses adjusted for inflation, in waste management and damage to the marine ecosystem in the whole world.

These costs may seem small compared to the overall economic and human losses of tobacco, but they are cumulative and preventable, according to researcher Deborah KC.

KC adds that while great strides have been made in developing policies to reduce or ban single-use plastics around the world, tobacco plastic has also been overlooked.

This is despite the fact that cigarette filters, the main component of cigarette butts, are the most common type of garbage collected on the planet. It is made of single-use plastic.

To attempt to measure the global economic losses caused by toxic waste of tobacco products, and to better inform tobacco control and environmental protection agencies, the researcher relied on currently available public data sources for cigarette sales, clean-up costs, and plastic waste on land and at sea.

These sources included the World Bank, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the Tobacco Atlas, and the World Wildlife Fund.

The average weight of each plastic filter is 3.4g. Since cigarette butts are often littered with plastic packaging, which weighs on average 19g for a standard size of 20 cigarettes, this was also included in the calculations.

The researcher estimated annual and ten-year projections of the environmental and economic costs of tobacco plastic on a tonnage basis. The 10-year forecast is included because cigarette butts take 10 years to decompose.

The total figure reflects clean-up and disposal cost estimates (adjusted for inflation) of the total plastic generated from filtered cigarette sales that would likely end up as waste in the sea, landfills or in the environment.

KC estimated that the annual economic cost of cigarette plastic waste is approximately US$26 billion, consisting of US$20.7 billion in damage to the marine ecosystem and US$5 billion in waste management costs, amounting to US$186 billion adjusted over 10 years. Years.

“Although this amount is small compared to the annual economic losses caused by tobacco ($1.4 trillion annually) and may seem small compared to the 8 million deaths attributed to tobacco each year, these environmental costs should not be underestimated,” KC explains. “Because they accumulate and can be prevented.”

She adds that the countries with the highest numbers of cigarette butts are mostly low- and middle-income countries, the same countries where the rate of plastics “leaking” into the environment is likely to be between 1% and 14%.

It is estimated that the costs of plastic pollution from tobacco products are likely to be highest in China, Indonesia, Japan, Bangladesh and the Philippines.

The researcher admits that the numbers are just estimates, but says that they are likely conservative, because they do not take into account the metals and toxic chemicals found in cigarette butts that accumulate over time, making them more harmful than general plastic waste.
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