Cigarette butts as a single biggest source of Ocean trash

Ocean pollution is a serious issue where its Trash is normally assumed to be straws, bottles and other plastic garbage while others are much worse even though it gets less attention.

Cigarette filters are normally considered small and harmless which however causes irreversible damage to ocean and wildlife. According to Ocean Conservancy, approximately 60 million cigarette filters were collected since 1982 exceeding the numbers of plastic bags, straws, bottles and food wrappers.

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People usually assume that the cellulose acetate in cigarette filters are biodegradable as it’s a natural product. Besides, it is actually a plastic which may form when cellulose acetate is processed and hence takes much longer to decay. Moreover, as the filters begin to decay, it releases all the pollutants absorbed from smoke including nicotine, arsenic and lead and decaying plastic as well which may be consumed by various sea creatures.

The Maldives is also an importer of cigarettes where 500 million cigarettes were imported in the year 2016 compared to 460 million in 2015. The Maldivian government had also increased taxation on cigarettes where the price of a box will rise from 48 Rufiyaa to 65-70 Rufiyaa which may generate a tax revenue of 200 million Rufiyaa which however costs a lot more to the community as well as the environment.

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