Cigarette butts and filters most common litter found on beaches

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Cigarette butts and filters most common litter found on beaches - DataNew data has just been released by the European Environment Agency about marine litter found on Europe’s beaches.

According to the data, based on nearly 700,000 collected items, disposable plastics are the biggest contributor to marine litter, with cigarette butts and filters being the most commonly found individual items.

The new data has been collected by volunteers using the EEA’s Marine LitterWatch mobile app.

In a statement, the EEA said that this data was collected by volunteer groups at beaches across Europe’s four regional seas – the Baltic Sea, the Black Sea, the Mediterranean Sea and the North-East Atlantic Ocean.

Volunteer groups, using the EEA app collected litter data at 1,627 beach clean-up events between 2014 and 2017. The EEA said that it has been responsible for controlling the quality of the data and analysing the results.

The most common items found on beaches include cigarette butts and filters, pieces of plastics and polystyrene, fragments of glass and ceramics, plastic cups and lids, cotton bud sticks, shopping bags, crisp packets, strings and cords, and drink bottles.

The EEA added that as for materials, disposable plastics are by far the biggest contributor to marine litter across all four regional seas.

The Agency noted that the new data recorded with the EEA app “is consistent with official data released, for example, under the Marine Strategy Framework Directive’s Technical Group on Marine Litter and the first ever Europe-wide strategy on plastics.”

This finding shows that data recorded by volunteers can complement official data on marine litter and thus help tackle the problem, the Agency said.

The EEA’s Marine LitterWatch app is available for Android and iOS devices. The app can be downloaded, free of charge, from Google Play and the App Store.

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    2 Responses

    1. george palmer says:

      All left behind by people who haven’t got the brains within an eggshell. Disgusting behavior. Ramla Beach is always a disgrace. Why are people so ignorant?

    2. anthony zammit says:

      When I was a smoker, smoking was permitted everywhere. We used to smoke at the Cinemas, busses and even in convents when waiting in the queue for confessing every Saturday. It was cool to smoke, throw the cigarette butt on the ground as long as you twist the tip of your shoe on it to kill its flame. It was so cool to do that too. But the coolest was when one places the Cigarette end between his thumb and middle finger and flips it as far as possible. It was a competition who gets it the farthest. If there was an ashtray most of us would use it especially those big ones full of sand particularly in Hotel Lobbies. When the sand was cleaned off they used to emboss the Hotel emblem on the sand and it was so nice that it was a kinky to be the first one to destroy such artwork.

      Nowadays, smoking has become the opposite of cool! Littering with cigarette butts is seen as criminal especially on Historical Sites like Dwejra and many other places. Whenever I accompany foreigners and people from Malta to the spot to show them where the Azure window stood I always bend down and pick up cigarette butts, plastic and whatever is polluting that site and put it in a small plastic bag which I always carry for this specific purpose. Many people follow my example and a considerable amount of litter is collected.

      I encourage business people to invest in selling ‘carry on ashtrays’. They exist because I saw Oriental tourists with it, not only for the butt but also for the ash while smoking. Now, that is what I call ‘cool’. If smokers cannot find in stores, they should be able to make one themselves using some imagination utilizing some kitchen foil in the form of a purse. Smokers have to understand that the crusade against them littering is going to aggravate. Would it ever become illegal to litter the streets with cigarette butts? It has been illegal for many years to smoke while driving. This is punishable by €11.65 because it impinges or more simply effects the driver’s level of control. Then there is a €50.00 fine for drivers who smoke while children are inside the vehicle. People in ‘comments’ show how ignorant they are in the fact that many accidents; even fatal ones were the result of a smoking driver accidentally dropping his lighted cigarette on him and there is where he or she loses control of the vehicle and drive the car on pedestrians or a whole family sitting in-front of their house in the evening. Yes, dear reader, smoking in cars kills others! One day even radios in cars will operate with ‘voice actuation’ because accidents have also been reported while changing the radio station or fixing the volume!

      Do you remember how we used to pay extra for ‘extra’ car features which now are not considered extra any longer? Air-bags, power steering, electric windows and so on…. In the near future all cars will be installed with front and rear cameras, which will help on reverse parking and also help in the event that one is involved in an accident to determine culpability. These cameras will not record anymore in a digital drive but will transmit their image and sound via internet in their private and personal account. The camera will have a feature where you can by the pushing of a switch send the video image directly to the nearest Police Station. For example if you see a person driving dangerously or you see a child at the back placing a HELP sign on the rear window, (like the movies) or smoking, you can flip this switch and the Police will get live feed of the situation and will get to the place as soon as possible. As for smokers, the police will take the car plate number and send the fine by mail accompanied with a photo extracted from the front or rear camera of the reporter. The fine will include a % of payment for the person who acted as Big Brother and sent the video. They will receive a check which is a % of the fine the smoker had to pay. Then if any of the passengers in the vehicle in-front of you litters anything out of the windows, when you get home you can always edit that bit of video and send it to the Police. One might say Hope to God we will not come to this! But if ignorance and selfishness continue to reign, then ‘Yes’ we have to come to this! The video will have the time and if there are multiple reports within minutes it means that the driver smoked more than one cigarette and therefore he deserves more than one fine.

      ‘Plogging’ a new word given to us by the Swedes means Plucking and Jogging. Jogging makes you lose weight but if you take a bag with you and you stop, bend down and pick up glitter you will burn more calories while cleaning our roads. Instead of signing up for a cleanup day, one day a year, turning your workout into an activity that not only provides physical benefits but also gives you a psychological boost and helps the planet can become routine. “It seems silly that we need to have a special word for something that people should be doing anyway, but if it gets the trash picked up, I’m all for it,”
      What prompted me to write all this was your article ‘Cigarette butts and filters most common litter found on beaches‘. I warn the beach smokers that if they continue to pollute our beaches there is no other solution than it is made illegal to smoke on the beach. Be smart, be wise and do not cause this illegality yourselves. Take care of your butts and trash them wisely.

      Tal-Linja busses run ‘On time’. This is great and very efficient. Yet there is always a side effect to everything. Many smokers are seen smoking their beloved cigarette (and I know the craving for it) on the bus stop right in-front of the door. As soon as the bus driver signals that he is leaving the butt is disposed of then and there and the passenger happily gets up on the bus, finds an empty seat and enjoy the ride. I had to leave my seat and look for a seat far away from the passenger because the stink of cigarette smoke he brought with him was unbearable.

      I close by urging smokers to quit. I work with patients in the hospital and I guarantee you that there is a big difference for a smoker than for a non smoker in dying. Everyone dies but the ache, soreness, distress and agony the smoker has to go through before dying is not worth it.

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