Cigarette butts are the numerous waste in the eco-action Rezolucija Zemlja in Omiš

Did you know that cigarette butts are the most widespread type of waste in the world? About 4.5 trillion cigarette butts are discarded annually, making them one of the most problematic plastic products in the world. We confirmed this at the clean-up action in Omiš, where cigarette butts were one of the most numerous items collected, even though the beaches are regularly cleaned during the summer season.

As part of Rezolucija Zemlja, a big ecological campaign of Večernji list, on October 12 we cleaned up Galeb beach in Omiš together with the Josip Pupačić Elementary School pupils and the utility company Peovica d.o.o. and collected almost half a kilogram of cigarettes butts on 200 meters of the beach. On 100m we did a detailed waste monitoring by the Protocol and weighed 300 grams of cigarette butts.

– The problem with cigarette butts are the filters which contain toxic substances that pollute the sea and have a bad effect on marine animals, while every year almost 80 tons of cigarette filters end up in nature. The problem becomes even more complicated when they end up in the sea, because these filters do not decompose, but break down into microplastics, which are consumed by fish and thus enter the human nutrition – emphasized Tea Kuzmičić Rosandić, project manager in Association for Nature, Environment and Sustainable Development Sunce.

– Our beaches are regularly cleaned during the summer months and there is always a problem with cigarette butts – is the impression of teacher Ivana Rubić.

– Due to the touristic purposes of the city beaches in Omiš, cigarette butts are a real challenge. This year, on the city’s main beach, Peovica d.o.o. has set up two bins for cigarette butts, and yet when we cleaned that beach in September, we collected 2.5 kilograms of cigarette butts. The plan is that next year, together with the Tourist Board, we place cigarette bins on all beaches and in this way, we will get to the bottom of this problem – said Marina Beović, the education officer at the utility company Peovica d.o.o. Omiš.

Pupils of the 3C class of Josipa Pupačić Elementary School, who helped us clean-up the beach, are included in the Globe program that is engaged with the environment theme, so our Little Globes are already familiar with waste separation.

– We have been separating waste at home for a long time! – Boris Tafra was the first to answer.

The students were surprised of how much microplastic there is when you scratch beneath the surface. In addition to cigarette butts, they collected a lot of different pieces of iron, newspapers, plastic bags, beach toys, glass from broken bottles and even one whole glass. We used this action to teach them how to monitor the type of waste with the help of our Protocol. The goal of this Protocol is to obtain data on the amount and composition of waste on beaches, which would later serve the scientific community when creating recommendations for more successful waste management.

Thus, based on scientific data, the European Union has stipulated in the Directive on single-use plastics (SUP) that manufacturers of tobacco products must pay the bill for cleaning cigarette butts containing plastic filters. The provisions of the SUP Directive have been transposed into national legislation, but there are no more ambitious measures that would stimulate citizens, the public and the business sector to eliminate/reduce single-use plastic products from business, services or goods.

– We can partly rely on the laws, but we must not forget that our waste is our responsibility. We need to start from ourselves, take care of our health and thus protect the environment – concluded Fedra Dokoza, expert associate at Sunce.

Tagovi: