Tallinn, World Cleanup Day call for action to combat littering of cigarette butts

  • 2020-08-19
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - A campaign to draw attention to the problem of littered cigarette butts started on Wednesday, the broader goal of which is to fight for a cleaner Baltic Sea. 

The action will culminate in the World Cleanup Day on Sept. 19, which this year will also focus specifically on small trash, and cigarette butts in particular, spokespeople for the Tallinn city government said on Wednesday. 

Mayor of Tallinn Mihhail Kolvart said that according to the committee for the protection of the Baltic Sea marine environment, 80 percent of the litter ending up in the Baltic Sea is generated onshore.

"This may be a surprise for many, but the biggest trash item for the Baltic Sea is cigarette butts, which poses also the biggest trash problem globally. In the sea, one cigarette butt alone may poison up to 1,000 liters of water, and it will not degrade biologically over time. Hence cigarette butt pollution poses a direct threat to the health of all of us," Kolvart said.

Most cigarette filters are composed of cellulose acetate, which degrades into micro-plastic that poses a threat to the ecosystem and human health alike. Cigarette butts make up nearly half of the litter ending up in the Baltic Sea.