Campaign aims to reduce volume of cigarette butts in environment

Studies have shown that around 30 percent of cigarette users sometimes or regularly discard butts on the street and about 118 tonnes of tobacco butts a year end up in the environment. Butts are the most common type of plastic waste in the world, Latvian Radio reported May 13.

An environmental object – giant cigarette butts – and information material regarding the harmful environmental impact of this waste can be seen in the Vērmanes Garden until May 21. Tobacco butts end up in the environment and emit toxic substances such as lead, arsenic, or benzene.

Residents addressed in Rīga acknowledged that in nature, especially on the beach, they often see large amounts of this rubbish.

For their part, smokers said waste urns were more placed in the center, and at times, especially in more remote neighborhoods, they had to look for garbage bins for a long time.

The campaign “Cigarette butts – time bombs” is implemented by “Latvijas Zalais Punkts/Latvian Green Point”, whose director Kaspars Zakulis is convinced that there are enough garbage cans around, but people need to be more aware of the harm caused by a butt dropped on the ground.

“Butts are inherently plastic products because 98 per cent of their content is cellulose acetate, which is not biodegradable in nature. I believe there are enough of these containers and we have still sent 172 containers to all municipalities, and so with this exhibition, we will be appealing to residents to pay attention to their bad habits of throwing butts on the ground,” Zakulis told Latvian Radio.

Since January 1, Latvia has operated an extended producer responsibility system for tobacco products with filters, which is also managed by the “Green Point” and the referred to additional containers are distributed to local governments within the framework of the system.

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