By Patricia Bianca S. Taculao

Pollution is a serious issue. A lot of materials that contribute to this such as straws, bottles, and other garbage. But recently, the spotlight has moved on to cigarette filters and how it adds harm as part of ocean pollution.

NBC News recently reported data collected by NGO Ocean Conservancy which has been spearheading beach cleanups since 1986.

According to the data collected, approximately 60 million cigarette filters have been collected since the 1980s. It exceeds the number of plastic bags, food wrappers, bottles, and straws cleaned up from the oceans.

Most cigarette filters consists of cellulose acetate which is a natural product. This ingredient misleads people to thinking that these filters are biodegradable. Unfortunately, it takes a lot longer for cigarette butts to decay than people think.

Until the filters begin the decaying process, they release all the pollutants they absorb from the cigarettes such as nicotine, lead, and arsenic. These chemicals are consumed by various sea creatures and could possibly end up in the food consumed by humans.

The cigarette industry is looking for greener solutions for the production of filters. Smokers are also being urged to consider to dispose cigarette butts responsibly.

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