Cigarette filters are made of cellulose acetate that is very slow to degrade in our environment. It says that cigarette filters can take about 18 months to 10 years to degraded. Before the cigarette filters is degrading, it can leach toxins to the ground and waterways and damaging living organisms that come into contact with them.
Here are the several facts and the impact of cigarette filter to our environment.
Cigarette filter facts according to Very Well Mind:
- Cigarette filters were designed to absorb some of the toxins in cigarette smoke and collect solid particles known as tar.
- Cigarette filters contain cellulose acetate and two layers of wrapping that are made of paper and/or rayon.
- Cellulose acetate fibres in a cigarette filter are thinner than sewing thread and a single filter contains more than 12,000 of these fibres.
- The inner wrapper on a cigarette filter is designed to either allow air to flow through it from the core for light cigarettes or to block airflow for regular cigarettes.
- The outer layer of paper is engineered to not stick to a smoker’s lips and attaches the filter to the tube of tobacco.
- Chemicals are added to cigarette paper to control the burn rate, and calcium carbonate is added as a whitener, in part to create appealing ash as the cigarette burns.
Impact of cigarette butts to our environment
Quoted from CNN, about 6 trillion cigarettes are manufactured a year and over 90% of them contain plastic filters. That’s more than one million tonnes of plastic.
Tossing a cigarette butt on the ground is one of the most accepted forms of littering, according to the World Health Organization. About two-thirds of butts are dumped irresponsibly — stubbed out on pavements or dropped into gutters, from where they are carried via storm drains to streams, rivers and oceans.
It says that the cigarette filter is in the first rank of items collected in 2018 Ocean Conservancy beach cleanup with 2,412,151 cigarette butts.
A study from Tobacco Control has found that the toxic inside the cigarette filters is endanger to our environment. They had a research by putting cigarette filters into aquarium with fish. In four days, half of the fish inside the aquatic is dead, and in conclusion the toxin inside the filters is seep into the water and it is deadly to living creatures.