The Global Fight Against Litter - Paris
Global fight against litter
The blight of cigarette litter
Despite extensive antismoking campaigns by healthcare organisations around the world, cigarette litter is still the most commonly dropped litter today. This can be blamed on a lack of awareness and responsibility on the part of those who smoke, and sometimes the lack of suitable places to dispose of cigarettes responsibly.
Surveys have shown that a staggering 77% of people do not think of cigarette butts as litter.
What is in a cigarette filter?
The core of most filters is made of a type of plastic called cellulose acetate, which breaks down very slowly when discarded. It can take up to 10 years for a filter to fully degrade.
Used filters also contain tar, which is a toxin, that can leach into the soil and into waterways. If there is any tobacco still attached to the filter, this can cause further pollution, due to nicotine and other toxins.
The problem of toxins in cigarette butts
Toxins from discarded cigarette butts end up in waterways, and are a risk to wildlife who might ingest them.
The fire risk
Discarded cigarette butts are a threat, as forest fires can break out and kill wildlife and damage their habitats. They are also a risk to nearby properties.
Global smoking statistics
- There are around 1 billion smokers in the world, and if current increases continue, there will be 1.6 billion smokers by the year 2025.
- There are more than 300 million smokers in China, who smoke their way through 1.7 trillion cigarettes per year.
- Across the globe, 10 million cigarettes are purchased per minute, and 15 billion are sold per day.
- There is absolutely nothing good to say about smoking. It pollutes the ground we walk on, and the air we breathe, and it damages our health.
The war against cigarette litter in Paris
If you are caught dropping a cigarette butt in the street in Paris, you can expect a 68 Euro fine. This is part of the overall campaign against litter which comes into effect in October.
30,000 new litter bins fitted with cigarette extinguishers have been installed, and 15,000 free pocket ashtrays have been given out. City officials handed out ‘fake fines’ to show people what will happen come October if they are caught dumping a cigarette butt.
Officials have been handing out flyers to smokers, warning them of the impending introduction of the fines. The Mayor of Paris said that the sanctions were needed to make the streets cleaner.
A hard habit to break
People who drop cigarette butts in Paris can already be fined 35 Euros, but many residents are not aware that the fine exists.
It is estimated that around 350 tonnes of cigarettes are discarded in Paris every year.
The city has tried to tackle the problem in the past, but even with the introduction of a major campaign back in 2012, there has not been much success. This is why officials have arrived at the conclusion that fines were the only method of making people clean up their act that worked.