The environmental challenge posed by cigarette butt litter

09 Jan 2021

Cellulose acetate-based cigarette filter is considered the world's most littered form of plastic. With close to 4.5 trillion butts polluting the global environment, this form of litter accounts for close to 26,454 tonnes of waste generated annually in India. Though one of the neglected waste streams, Oceans Conservancy, an international advocacy group, categorised cigarette butts as second among the top three articles collected during beach clean-ups globally. Numerous studies document filters as becoming accumulated masses of potentially toxic waste, posing physical harm to land and marine life when ingested and potentially polluting groundwater near landfills not containing leachate.

Waste disposal
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