The National Council Against Smoking and Greenpeace Africa are together working on a campaign to raise awareness about the plastic in cigarette butts as part of Plastic-free July. The organisations have started a #BanTheButt campaign on their Vuma.Earth platform.
“It may not be widely known, but cigarette butts are themselves made out of a form of plastic – cellulose acetate. They can take months or even years to break down into smaller pieces of plastic but will not biodegrade,” said Savera Kalideen, executive director of the National Council Against Smoking.
“Cigarette butts are the most frequent item of litter picked up on beaches and other water bodies worldwide. In South Africa, cigarette butts continue to be the third most common item of litter found on beaches during clean-ups,” Kalideen added.
Around 23.49 billion cigarettes are consumed in South Africa each year, according to the National Income Dynamics Study, with global evidence showing that the majority of these will not be thrown away in a waste bin.
The campaign calls for the polluter pays principle to be applied - tobacco companies that produce cigarettes should take responsibility for the collection and appropriate disposal of cigarette butts, and not shift this responsibility to municipalities and taxpayers.
“Plastic waste is changing the face of Africa. The fight against plastics cannot be a burden put on the public alone. We need to start putting pressure on corporations to rethink their role in how to alleviate and ultimately eliminate single-use plastic,” said Nhlanhla Sibisi, Greenpeace Africa Pan-African Plastic project spokesperson.
Sign our petition: https://www.vuma.earth/petitions/ban-the-ban-in-south-africa
This article originally appeared at Bizcommunity