source url Smoking is rubbish – nearly every part of smoking is bad for the environment, from growing the tobacco plants to people throwing away their used, chemical-filled butts.
Around 600 million trees are cut down every year to make the papers for the 5 trillion cigarettes that are made around the world annually. The machines which make cigarettes can use up to four miles of paper every hour.
Countries including Malawi and Uganda have huge areas of deforestation (where all the trees and plants are gone) because the trees have been cut down so they can be used for tobacco products.
Tobacco farmers, often working side-by-side with their children, can develop something called ‘Green Tobacco Sickness’. This sickness makes people feel weak and dizzy and makes their heart beat faster.
A lot of pesticides and herbicides (chemicals) are used in tobacco farming to help the delicate tobacco plants to grow but these chemicals are toxic. In many countries where tobacco is grown, there are no laws to protect the environment from these harmful chemicals meaning they can easily end up in water and food supplies.
Some of the most commonly used pesticides:
Burning cigarettes release smoke containing thousands of chemicals into the air we breathe. The smoke may not look like a lot but 80% of cigarette smoke is invisible and it has a lot of smaller, more harmful little particles in it than other pollutants.
Cigarettes butts are the most littered item in the world with an estimated 4.5 trillion of them being dropped every year. That’s 45 000 000 000 000. They’re made out of a type of plastic and this means they can take up to 12 years to break down.
85% to 95% of all streets in Wales have smoking-related litter on. This litter comes in various forms:
The filters in cigarette ends contain loads of chemicals which, when thrown away, will pollute rivers, seas, streams and other water sources. A single butt can pollute 500 litres of water.
Animals can mistake cigarette butts for food but when eaten, the butt will get stuck inside the poor animal, ultimately killing it.
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