Everyone is very clear that tobacco is harmful to health and harmful to the environment, likewise, there is still a high percentage of people who smoke in the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) continues to warn in its reports of its harmful effects and draws attention to the high numbers of victims of smoking, but how does it affect the planet?
The great damage of tobacco to the environment
The first surprising fact: the pollution generated by tobacco is greater than that of diesel cars. The smoke from a regular cigarette can contain up to 4,000 chemicals.
2. The cultivation of tobacco
Contamination begins from the very cultivation of the tobacco plant, for its growth and health, large amounts of agrochemicals are used. After two harvests, the soil is depleted and rendered useless by these products. According to the FSU report, as you have to wait three years to use it again, producers in countries without environmental control do not hesitate to seek new land that they get with more deforestation.
But first, you have to deforest. Tobacco is one of the main responsible for global deforestation. Of eight trees felled, at least three will make room for cultivation or healing, according to the FSU report.
4. Butts and water
Another problem is the cigarette butts that go to the beaches, floors, streets, etc. since people keep throwing them anywhere. Each year 4.5 billion cigarette butts are thrown away, the most toxic part of the cigarette. The butt filters are made of cellulose acetate, a non-biodegradable material whose polluting effect can last 25 years in the environment until it decomposes. The nicotine and tar from a single cigarette can contaminate up to 50 liters of water.
5. Forest fires
Accidental fires due to the negligence of smokers throwing cigarette butts anywhere are added to the environmental damage.
Unfortunately, there is still the habit of throwing the cigarette butt out the car window. In the European Union, cigarette-related fires cause more than 30,000 fires a year (a thousand fatalities), between forest fires and those that take place in homes. So much so, that attempts are being made to change the safety regulations to make self-extinguishing cigarettes.
6.- Toxic smoke
Cigarette smoke also contains GHGs. The AECC estimates that smokers produce 225,000 tons of CO2 per year, the equivalent of the emissions of some 12,000 cars that traveled 10,000 kilometers.
7. Waste not reused
The WHO study also recalls that the remains of the plant used in the manufacture of cigarettes represent a risk, since factories dispose of huge amounts on a daily basis.
With information from: