Butt menace highlighted in Canada

| March 9, 2016

A study by Professor Kelley Lee of Simon Fraser University, British Columbia, Canada, estimates that more than five trillion cigarette butts are littered every year, according to a Canadian Press story, relayed by the TMA.

Lee proposes that cigarette manufacturers be made responsible for the collection, transport, processing and safe disposal of the butts, based on the principle of Extended Producer Responsibility.

Such a move would incorporate the environmental cost of discarded butts into cigarette prices.

Public services, clean-up campaigns and recycling efforts were not working to address the problem, and therefore, “we need to go up stream … to the source of the butts,” Lee was quoted as saying.

Her study found that between one third and two thirds of cigarette butts are littered, buried in landfills or washed down storm drains.

Cellulose acetate in the cigarette butts remained in the environment for 10-25 years, she said, and discarded filters collected toxic chemicals that leached into the earth.

Her paper sets a regulatory scheme as model legislation for cities, provinces and countries to adopt, and was designed with the Cigarette Butt Pollution Project in Washington, DC.

A similar story has just appeared in New Zealand, though there the estimate of discarded cigarette butts was up to four trillion. That story quoted new research published in the Tobacco Control Journal that was said to have found that 98 percent of all cigarettes included filters made of materials that are not biodegradable.

Category: Breaking News

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