Researchers in the UK want to ban cigarette filters. Calling them a major source of plastic pollution, ineffective and linked to increased cancer rates, the filters provide no benefit to society.
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and San Diego State University researchers used The British Medical Journal to request an EU-wide ban on cigarette filters. In an editorial titled, “No More Butts,” researchers said that filters were made up by cigarette companies to create an illusion of safety.
And now they want the filters banned to help reduce plastic Pollution. Cigarette butts are made of cellulose acetate, a non-biodegradable plastic. 4.5 trillion cigarette butts are littered each year. This amounts of a million tonnes of plastic by weight.
“Even though the cellulose acetate filter is the single most commonly collected item of litter globally, the industry has largely succeeded in avoiding the public outrage expressed towards plastic waste. Unlike manufacturers of some other polluting post-consumption waste products, such as refrigerators containing fluorocarbons, it has never been held accountable for the cost of the waste it generates,” they wrote in the paper.
The government responded, highlighting its Environment Bill as evidence of its stance against plastic waste. Plastic pollution is edging into landfills, oceans and public places. Governments and companies are working to both stop plastic at the source, and clean up what’s already in the environment.
Read more plastic news in One Green Planet, including Coca-Cola, Nestlé, and PepsiCo are the Top 3 Plastic Polluters on the Planet and The Story of Plastic: A New Movie About Plastic Waste.
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