You know it, I know it, we know it, a cigarette butt pollutes. But it is interesting to understand why? Around 137,000 cigarette butts are thrown around the world every second. Over a year in France, nearly 30 billion cigarette butts are thrown on the ground, polluting up to 15,000 billion liters of water, the equivalent of 4 million Olympic swimming pools.
These figures deserve a closer look, so concretely why does a cigarette butt pollute?
A cigarette butt contains two main sources of pollution. When it comes into contact with water, it releases 250 chemicals , such as lead, uranium and cyanide. The cigarette butts filters, made of plastic fibers, gradually break down into microplastics on contact with water.
Carried away by water and wind, cigarette ends thrown on the ground end up in pipes and therefore in waterways, where they gradually deteriorate. A multitude of cigarette butts finally finish their way in the oceans, and then accelerate the deterioration of the quality of the water.
Butts represent 40% of the waste present in the Mediterranean Sea . By degrading, a cigarette butt releases its various toxic compounds that it contains. And when we know that some of these compounds can take up to 15 years to degrade, we understand the importance of throwing them in appropriate places like outdoor ashtrays .
Now, we all know that cigarette butts are a major source of water pollution, but they are also a major source of soil pollution. British researchers have observed that several plants see their growth halved in the presence of cigarette butts.
It is therefore the responsibility of all of us to pay attention to our planet and to create together zero butt spaces .