MyNews24 is a user-generated section of The stories here come from users.

Samantha Derham
Comments: 14
Article views: 1521
Latest Badges:

View all Samantha Derham's badges.

The accumulative impact of small actions through the life of a cigarette butt

13 October 2014, 05:00

Sometimes, the things that seem to be the most insignificant turn out to be the most significant because so many people thought that it was insignificant. The seemingly insignificance of a single cigarette butt comes to mind...

The majority of cigarettes are smoked outside and in private cars and the seemingly insignificant butt is then unthinkingly flicked onto the ground. Usually a hard surface where water runs freely to the nearest drain. Public storm water is directed into rivers, dams or directly into the ocean. Most water runs into the ocean eventually, and cigarette butts are easily taken for the ride. If a smoker stops for a second to think that what they are doing is actually littering it's simply justified as only one cigarette here and there. What difference will it make? Next time you're at a set of traffic lights or just walking down a footpath, have a look at the road next to you - you will see that there are a lot more than one or two, especially if it hasn't rained for a while. 

The facts are:
- Over 4.5 trillion cigarettes are littered worldwide each year. They are the most littered item in the world, and is the most common debris found in ocean litter trawls (as much as 40%)
- If all these cigarette butts were laid together they would cover 9 million km2, an area almost as large as the total area of the United States - per year!
- Cigarette butts are composed of cellulose acetate, a form of plastic, and take up to 25 years to decompose - 25 x the area US and counting
- Filters contain about 165 chemicals which leach into the environment they are disposed in, and are found in the guts of most marine life and birds, and is the direct cause of death for millions on them.

And that is just cigarette butts. Just think of all the rest of seemingly insignificant bits of plastic that are casually tossed because it is thought simply to be too small to care about...? With these facts its no longer surprising to hear that there are several continent-sized patches of garbage where currents meet in the ocean, the largest of which is thought to be twice the area of the United States. There is no accurate estimates of how deep the plastic soup might be.

Just like every seemingly insignificant cigarette adds up to be one of the world's most significant problems, if every person did a little in their own lives, it would add up to a lot. Yes, YOU! Just do what you can, it matters so much more than you think.

More info:

Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Rebone Tau
What it means to be part of the n...

Under President Cyril Ramaphosa, we are seeing an ANC that is for the people of South Africa; an ANC that will bring back the meaning of being a patriotic citizen of the Republic of South Africa, writes Rebone TauRead more...

0 comments 2407 views
Submitted by
Erika Oberholzer
This is what hope feels like!

Thank you, Mr. Ramaphosa, for giving South Africans of all walks of life a new ideal to rally behind. All you need to do is show us that our positive inputs will yield positive results. Read more...

0 comments 399 views
Submitted by
Graham Sell
I refuse to be dragged down by Ra...

For the first time in many years there is a mood of goodwill and optimism in South Africa that I share. But goodwill and optimism alone are not enough. We must follow up with actions. Read more...

0 comments 173 views
Submitted by
Strike while the iron is hot, Cyr...

After that statesmanlike SONA speech, it is clear that Cyril Ramaphosa is riding high and confidently. But as everyone said afterwards, 'Now let us see him walk the talk'. Read more...

0 comments 829 views
Submitted by
Eddie Maffa
Free education, free e-books

Let’s use the sites for free-books and avoid faking references when writing assignments. Read more...

0 comments 692 views
Submitted by
Chris Robinson
How right Mrs Zuma was to predict...

I do not think Mrs Zuma expected THIS kind of trouble. Her hubby's empire is collapsing faster than the twin towers, with as much dust and noise. Read more...

0 comments 3369 views


RSS feeds News delivered really simply.

E-mail Newsletters You choose what you want

News24 on Android Get the latest from News24 on your Android device.

SMS Alerts Get breaking news stories via SMS.

Interactive Advertising Bureau
© 2018 All rights reserved.
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.