…if placed end to end, they would circle the earth 22 times…
This is a mégot, or as we know it in English, a cigarette butt. Tossed away on a Paris sidewalk. An estimated 1,6 billion cigarettes were sold in the city last year. A half a million butts are thrown onto Paris sidewalks, adding up to some 350 tons of cigarette butts that are collected yearly in the City Of Light. The problem has become considerably worse ever since a smoking ban in public places, meaning bistros, restaurants, night clubs, bars, offices, banks, post offices and hospitals, but not streets and parks, was introduced back in 2008, forcing many more people to begin puffing outdoors.
Of course, throwing cigarettes butts on the streets spoils the urban landscape for everyone, but there are also more serious consequences concerning the environment. One cigarette butt takes anywhere between 4 and 12 years to break down, and during this time it releases heavy metals and pollutants, like nicotine, lead and cadmium into the environment. These toxic substances in cigarettes are not only harmful to a person’s lungs, but concentrated in the butts they are also harmful to the surrounding flora and fauna, and when swept or thrown into gutters, they pollute the water. Just one cigarette butt is enough to contaminate 500 liters of water. Added to that, they are also frequently thrown onto the grates protecting the bases of the city’s trees, shortening the trees’ lifespan. In an effort to stop people from tossing their butts on the ground, Paris has raised the fine for offenders to €68, if they are caught. But it is going to take much more public awareness to cleans up the city’s streets. Sadly most smokers are only interested in feeding their addiction and not in the consequences of their actions…
(source: Mairie de Paris web site)
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(source: Mairie de Paris website)