According to Popular Science, tobacco companies produce 5.5 trillion cigarettes every year—approximately 900 for each person in the world. Ever wonder what type of effect all this has on our environment? It’s probably a little more harmful than you first suspect.
Manufacturing a tobacco cigarette is not as simple as filling a piece of paper with a few tobacco leaves. No instead, the entire process is lengthy and complex – with each step having a potentially negative impact on the environment.
Tobacco, Pesticides, and Fertilisation
Consider for a moment that a great portion of the world’s supply of tobacco plants is often grown in poorer countries and communities. And because these plants eat up the nutrients within the soil in which they are grown, they require an immense amount of fertilisation. Unfortunately, being the product of poorer communities, tobacco farmers often cannot afford the fertiliser necessary to keep the soil fertile. So instead of replenishing the soil with nutrients, the farmers simply move to a new portion of land, leaving the other portion barren and infertile.
This is to say nothing of the pesticides and toxins used to control pests and disease. Tobacco plants are sprayed on a continuous basis, which in turn contaminates the surrounding landscape with harmful chemicals.
What about the Trees?
According to a June 2006 article by Popular Science, over 600 million trees are felled annually all for the singular purpose of producing a tobacco cigarette. This includes the drying and curing of tobacco. Just think about the effect this causes in terms of greenhouse gases – Not to mention the loss of all those wonderful CO2 absorbing trees.
One Giant Mound of Cigarette Filter ends
Of the approximate 5.5 trillion cigarettes produced on an annual basis, only a little over a trillion use biodegradable filters. This leaves somewhere around 4.3 trillion cigarette filters that just end up getting thrown – These filters aren’t going anywhere; we have to dispose of them. They line our streets, our parks, and our dumps. Thus, basically creating one large mound of dirty cigarette filters.
Electronic Cigarettes: and a Recyclable Alternative
ElectronicCigarettes, like those from INCIG, offer a possible more environmentally friendly alternative. Many of INCIG’s electronic cigarette refills are recyclable, meaning that the smoker is able to reduce their environmental impact simply by making the switch.