Only a fifth of Latvian smokers care about where the butt ends – Nature, Ecology

Only a fifth of Latvian smokers care about where the butt ends – Nature, Ecology
Only a fifth of Latvian smokers care about where the butt ends – Nature, Ecology
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Publicitates_foto_LZP.

Although the majority of smokers know and agree that cigarette butts are waste that causes environmental pollution, only a fifth (21%) care where the butts are thrown, according to a survey conducted by “Latvijas Zaļā punkta”*. In order to draw attention to society’s habits of throwing cigarette butts in unsuitable places, including the environment, and to promote awareness of the dangers of the consequences of such behavior, “Latvijas Zaļais punkts” is launching the campaign “A cigarette butts – a time mine”. As part of the campaign, a traveling environmental object “Cīgmīnas” will be placed in several places in Latvia, encouraging the public to think about the impact of dropped cigarette butts on the environment. The first environmental object was opened today in Riga, in Vermanes Garden, where it will be on display until May 21.

According to the survey data, 85% of smokers in Latvia agree that cigarette butts are waste that causes environmental pollution, however, 56% admit that they do not care where the cigarette butts are thrown, and another 23% of respondents do not have a very clear opinion on this issue.

It is true for those smokers who are aware of the harmful effects of cigarette butts on the environment: cigarette butts release toxic chemicals such as lead and arsenic used in rat poisoning, pollute water, and can poison fish and animals. An ordinary cigarette filter consists of 98% plastic fibers – cellulose acetate, which is not biodegradable. Therefore, cigarettes do not decompose naturally. They are affected by exposure to rain and sun, but it is estimated that cigarette smoke left on the ground for two years decomposes by only 38%.

As the main reason why cigarette butts are not thrown in the bins, 65% of smokers say that people simply do not care where their butts end up, 52% believe that the reason for this phenomenon is the lack of waste bins, and 37% think that people do not realize that cigarette butts is garbage.

The huge difference between the opinion of smokers that cigarette butts are waste and the habits of throwing them where they happen to be shows that the problem is not the lack of waste bins or other external conditions, but the attitude of the people themselves. Ignorance cannot be blamed either, when the absolute majority of smokers agree on the harmfulness of cigarette butts. Along with other toxic waste, cigarette butts become a time mine that will sooner or later contaminate everything around it, and everyone who drops a cigarette butt on the ground participates in the activation of this mine. We want to highlight this with smoking props, which are not unique in the world, but will be seen in Latvia for the first time,” says Kaspars Zakulis, director of “Latvijas Zaļā punkta”.

Most often, smokers notice carelessly discarded cigarette butts on streets and sidewalks (69%), at public transport stops on the ground (58%), in nature – on beaches, parks, forests, etc. (51%), as well as next to trash cans (50%).

Director General of the State Environmental Service Andris Ķeniņš: “This year it is introduced in Latvia filter of tobacco products management system, which means that the manufacturers and traders of these products take some responsibility in reducing the environmental impact of cigarette smoke. Unlike other types of waste, which we have already learned over many years to dispose of in the appropriate container for recycling, cigarette butts should initially be learned as much as disposal in the containers intended for waste, and not thrown into the environment. This means that public education will be of key importance in the management of cigarette butts, as a matter of priority, in the future, the possibilities of managing this type of waste in accordance with the principles of waste recycling will be evaluated.

Environmental installation within the “Cīgmīna” campaign “Smoke – a mine with a time degil”. will travel” around Latvia and will be displayed in various public and tourist attractions, more information about which will be available at www.zalais.lv. The campaign is implemented with the support of “Mēnes aptieka” and “Philip Morris Latvia”.

* The survey of smokers was carried out on the order of “Latvijas Zaļā punkta”. Snapshotssurveying 714 smokers aged 18-74 in April 2024.

SIA “Latvijas Zaļais punkts”

The article is in Latvian

Tags: Latvian smokers care butt ends Nature Ecology

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