The carpet of cigarette butts

I found it logical that if in the main cities all over the world it is not allowed to smoke in the public transit, offices or public places, smoke-free and trash-free life would be more feasible, but the truth is that we still see many smokers smoke cast and pulling butts. I do not criticize smokers, hey! I was once a smoker!
I started to reckon and if about 1100 million people worldwide are smokers according to The World Health Organization, that means that over 15 trillion cigarette butts are thrown away per year.

The problem is that several butts contain toxic elements and may take up to 10 years to decompose as they are made of cellulose acetate.
In Montreal, Qc. For example, many buildings have outside arrangements for the disposal of cigarette butts and ashes; even so, the carpet of cigarette butts found mainly outside office buildings.
This accumulated cigarette butts forms a carpet that is not biodegradable, which is a high health risk. I do not know if you have noticed, but we are turning cities and parks in big ashtrays!.
In cities, butts thrown on the pavement cause terrible visual impact and raises the cost of cleaning services; in forests and parks butts can be ingested by animals causing them poisoning or asphyxiation; on beaches 26% of the trash are butts and one cigarette butt can pollutes up to 8 liters of water.

I did a little more research and I managed pessimism when I learned that in some places there are actions and projects about all this, for example:
1. In UNAM IZTACALA, in Mexico, a group of students in the career of Biology, recycle the butts by degradation . This biotechnology involves the growth of a fungus using cigarette filters and composting the bodies to obtain fertile soil. This project achieves the management and treatment of this waste, reducing the degradation time and creating a truly sustainable development.
2. In Viña del Mar, Chile, costume designer Alexandra Guerrero has initiated a project that begins with collecting cigarette butts from bars, restaurants and streets, only to be washed, dyed and incorporated a natural fiber yarn.
3. Blake Burich in Columbus, Ohio, invented a chemical solution that dissolves cigarette filters. By immersing the butts in the solution they are converted into a plastic-like material that is useful for protecting the oxide to automobiles.

While governments continue the campaign to stop smoking and certain NGO’s create new projects to recycle, reuse and transform butts, another series of strategies among individuals could be:
• Put messages against garbage in all cigarette packages and in advertising.
• Installing and, more important, maintaining outdoor ashtrays in areas where smokers congregate.
• Fines for smokers who throw cigarette butts.
• Do not throw away cigarette butts on the floor, do not throw them in the toilet, and of course neither in plant pots!

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By: Cecilia Ramirez