By ibrahima yakubu
The African Institute of Waste Management and Environmental Studies has called on the European Union (EU) and African Union (AU) to make it mandatory for tobacco companies across Africa to pay for the evacuation of discarded cigarette butts and packs polluting streets, markets, motor parks, train stations, football stadiums, and other areas.
The Registrar General of the institute, Dr. Ahmed Lateef Tayo, emphasized that every year the tobacco industry costs the world over 8 million human lives, 600 million trees, 200,000 hectares of land, 22 billion tonnes of water, and 84 million tonnes of CO2, and cigarette butts are the most littered item on the planet, containing over 7,000 toxic chemicals that leech into the environment when discarded.
Tayo pointed out that roughly 4.5 trillion cigarette filters pollute our oceans, rivers, city sidewalks, parks, soil, and beaches every year.
Cigarette butts pose a serious threat to living organisms and ecosystem health when discarded in the environment because they are toxic to microbes, insects, fish, rodents, and mammals. Littered cigarette butts leach toxic chemicals such as arsenic and lead into the environment and can contaminate water, poison fish, and animals that eat them. Products like cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, and e-cigarettes also add to the build-up of plastic pollution. Cigarette filters contain microplastics and make up the second-highest form of plastic pollution worldwide.
Tobacco use increases the likelihood of developing lung cancer, oral cancer, heart disease, and blood clots.
Tobacco use also increases the risk of heart attack and stroke and leads to tooth and gum decay and wrinkled skin.
Despite tobacco industry marketing, there is no evidence that filters have any proven health benefits.
The World Health Organization has called on policy-makers to treat cigarette filters as single-use plastics and consider banning them to protect public health and the environment.
The Registrar General noted that the African Union needs to come up with a new approach to tackling the spread of discarded cigarette butts on the streets and other walkaway places. He also urged countries and cities to follow the example of France and Spain and cities like San Francisco in California, USA, and implement “extended producer responsibility legislation,” which makes the tobacco industry responsible for clearing up the pollution it creates.
Furthermore, he insisted that the AU support tobacco farmers to switch to sustainable crops, implement strong tobacco taxes that could also include an environmental tax, and offer support services to help people quit tobacco.
” it cost huge amount of money to clean -up all the Millions of cigarette butts in the society capable of destroying the environment and ecosystem ”
” something to always remember is that, a cigarette pack frequently contains 20 cigarettes, cartons have 10 packs or 200 cigarettes, and master cases 50 cartons or 10,000 cigarettes”
While Stressing that, it may come to you as no surprise that cigarettes are the most littered item on earth ,and nobody is talking about that ,hence the need to raise more awareness to all stake holders to be more serious
According to him, there are millions of discarded cigarettes sticks and butts polluting the entire environment , while causing lungs and other dangerous health diseases to human organs
Meanwhile ,the national president Metro environmental cleaning awareness initiative in Nigeria comrade Suleiman jibrin has called on tobacco companies to find new ways of protecting the environment against the spread of the discarded cigarettes butts destroying the good emerge of the environment
He Appealled to European nations and African Union equally find new strategies of taxing all the tobacco companies across the world and charges for cleaning up the trash from tobacco waste polluting the environment
Similarly the Two times winner of world no tobacco Day Mrs Margaret Julius has called for the banned of all tobacco companies round of world to save youth and women against selling and smoking of the cigarettes
She said banning all the tobacco companies from productions Is the only solution to the increase burdens of lungs and other health complicated issues