Pollution of the oceans by cigarette ends, a vital issue

Contrary to popular belief, the cigarette butt represents the highest pollution in the oceans. It is nonetheless as dangerous or even more dangerous than the others. Once consumed, the cigarette butt is the most common waste in nature. You should know that no less than 137,000 cigarette butts are thrown into the ocean every second . This is equivalent to 3,340 packs of cigarettes. Almost 40% will land in the Mediterranean Sea, in particular because of sea currents!

Serious environmental consequences

Despite a growing awareness of the fight against waste that is thrown into the environment, the cigarette butt is still present almost everywhere around us. A butt is difficult to degrade, from a period of between 12 and 15 years. It contains no less than 4000 toxic substances. Among these, there are between 100 and 250 which are carcinogenic and highly harmful to the environment as well as to the marine ecosystem. We can cite: pesticides, nicotine, phenol, tar, heavy metals, arsenic, etc. As a reminder, a cigarette butt can pollute up to 500 liters of water when it is submerged in the sea.

An increasingly threatened marine biodiversity

Apart from observing the degradation of cigarette ends thrown into seawater, numerous scientific tests have been carried out on marine animals such as crustaceans for example. The transfer of contaminants to the environment and the associated impacts on the organisms that live there have been studied. The results are clear: 1 cigarette butt can contaminate 1 kg of sediment, resulting in the mortality of all individuals who have been exposed.

A robust and dangerous pollutant

When it comes to butt anatomy, one of the most dangerous factors to focus on is the filter . Indeed, the latter contains plastic which, when immersed, will not or very little degrade. Over time, this plastic material that makes up the filter will gradually break down into numerous microplastics which will be ingested by the fish, which will think that it is food. These microplastics, which cannot be digested, will then accumulate in the stomachs of the fish and will then give a feeling of satiety. The cigarette ends thus decimate an incalculable number of fish, which has an extremely destructive impact on the already very fragile balance of the ecosystem as well as on marine biodiversity. It is a real health issue for humans.

Simple actions for promising results

If the cigarette ends are not thrown into nature, it is strongly recommended to participate in the collection and to throw the cigarette ends in bins intended for household waste circuits or in the various ashtrays dedicated to the collection and recycling of cigarette ends. This scourge can only be stopped by our common will to act. More than citizen action, we are all actors in the survival of our planet.

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ÉcoMégot is a French company, resulting from the social and solidarity economy, which offers an innovative, complete, local and tailor-made solution for raising awareness, creating zero butt spaces, collecting and recycling cigarette butts in all of France (Lyon, Paris, Marseille, Toulouse, Bastia, Saint-Cloud, Monaco, Bordeaux, Pau ...). 

Our mission is to promote behavioral changes among citizens, employees and festival-goers with regard to cigarette butt pollution. We believe that the recycling of cigarette ends should serve the common awareness and thus create a virtuous circle carrying meaning.


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