Cigarette Butts ; The Most Discarded Waste Item Worldwide – UN


The World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC ) says cigarette butts have become the most discarded waste item worldwide , with some 4 . 5 trillion thrown away each year , representing 1 . 69 billion pounds of toxic trash annually .
WHO - FCTC said various studies indicated that this was compounded and accelerated as bans on indoor smoking took effect in many of the world ’ s cities and countries over the past two decades .
WHO FCTC is a global health treaty that advocates for the control of tobacco production , sale and use , as a way of reducing tobacco- related illnesses, deaths, environmental degradation and poverty across the world .
The UN tobacco control treaty watchdog warned that apart from deforestation to soil degradation and pollution , tobacco production and its use by consumers is “tremendously destructive ” for the environment.
Dr Vera e Silva, the Head of the WHO FCTC Secretariat, said , however, that control measures could help curb its negative environmental effects , including the damaging impact of climate change.
“ People often immediately think of the health impact that tobacco has , but there is not enough awareness of how tremendously destructive it is for the environment too , on land , under water and in the air,” she said .
She stressed that high amount of deforestation occurs, not only to create space for tobacco farming , but also because a lot of timber is required for the drying process of tobacco leaves after they are harvested .
Estimates show that tobacco farming causes up to five per cent of global deforestation , with 200, 000 hectares of natural wood biomass loss each year .
“ Studies indicate that tobacco growing could be up to 10 times more aggressive than all other deforestation factors ,” e Silva noted .
In addition , the report stated that tobacco crop production led to accelerated soil degradation , as it stripped the earth of nutrients such as nitrogen , phosphorus and potassium faster and more extensively, than other major food and cash crops .
She said environmental pollution from tobacco started well before cigarettes were discarded, during the production phase , as tobacco crops required large amounts of chemical fertilizers, pesticides and growth regulators that pollute the ground , nearby waterways and aquifers .
“ Among the pesticides used to grow tobacco are some highly toxic products that affect animals and humans alike , many of which are banned , or being phased out in several countries,” she explained .
The UN tobacco control watchdog also recommended that parties to the treaty urgently adopt regulations that would make the industry responsible for the impact that it had on the planet.
“ Tobacco giants have been lobbying worldwide for policies that exonerate them from any environmental responsibility but ultimately, tobacco producers should be responsible for liability , economic costs and provision of information on the environmental impacts of their activities . ”
She explained that “governments need to understand that tobacco control is a major component of any effective and holistic environmental protection effort they want to undertake” .
Cigarette Butts ; The Most Discarded Waste Item Worldwide – UN Cigarette Butts ; The Most Discarded Waste Item Worldwide – UN Reviewed by Youngblogger on 05 September Rating: 5

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