Will there come a time when we finally understand that we have no spare planet and that we are suffocating in our own trash every single day. The global warming is a real issue and things are about to get much worse if we don’t take care of the trash and the waste we are leaving behind that kills many living creatures and contaminates the soil.

We stumble upon photos of animals and fish that die because plastic bottles, straws, and lids end up inside their bodies, and that’s a reality too harsh to bear. 

However, we tend to forget one item that litters the Earth more than the rest of the plastic items; the cigarettes butts. 

The volunteers at the Ocean Conservancy, that make sure beaches around the country and the world get cleaned, say how during the 32 years of work, they have picked up more than 60 million cigarette butts which is more than the rest of the plastic items combined. 


One of the reasons why people dispose cigarette butts on the beaches, the streets, and other public places is because they believe their filters are made out of paper and cotton, which is far from the truth. 

These filters are in fact plastic, or cellulose acetate, which takes more than a decade to decompose.  

The reality is that cigarette filters don’t really serve the purpose smokers are convinced they do, which is filtering tar and nicotine. 

“It’s pretty clear there is no health benefit from filters. They are just a marketing tool. And they make it easier for people to smoke,” Thomas Novotny, a professor of public health at San Diego State University, told NBC News. “It’s also a major contaminant, with all that plastic waste. It seems like a no-brainer to me that we can’t continue to allow this.”

Sadly, not much can be done regarding this type of pollution as the number of smokers is enormous and the production of cigarettes can’t really be controlled. 

In the past, there were some ideas that could help the reduction of cigarette butts dumped irresponsibly, including that of a New York legislator who presented the legislation that would allow smokers to return butts to redemption centers for a rebate, but they weren’t accepted. 

Thankfully, there are a number of non-profit organizations such as the Cigarette Butt Pollution Project that have their contribution in reducing the pollution by offering assistance to the local governments.

One fact that may change smokers’ irresponsibility regarding flicking butts is that the fiber and the chemicals they contain have been found in 70% of seabirds and 30% of sea turtles. 

We humans are greedy and behave like this planet belongs to us only and often forget that our trash is destroying the life of millions of other living creatures, many of which are on the list of endangered species only because we pollute and ruin their habitats. 

As around 137,000 cigarette butts are flicked on the ground every second by smoker from all around the world, they are very likely to end up into our gardens or sewers that lead to the local water supply. 

The planet is suffocating in cigarette butts and we seem not to care about it a great deal.

If you still don’t understand the severity of the situation just take a look at this fact. Last year, 203 volunteers collected 120,000 cigarette butts in just three hours in Brussels. 

If we want to preserve our only home, our planet Earth, the first thing we should do is get rid of the cigarette filters altogether as they serve no purpose at all, they just pollute the planet.

Take a look at the video below and next time you have a cigarette think twice before you flick.