Cigarette Butts Add to Europe’s Marine Litter Problems

Cigarette Butts Add to Europe’s Marine Litter Problems

Cigarettes butts are one of the major sources of litter on Europe’s beaches, according to new data released by the European Environment Agency (EEA).

Cigarettes butts are one of the major sources of litter on Europe’s beaches, according to new data released by the European Environment Agency (EEA).

The study, undertaken by volunteers, was based on almost 700,000 items collected from Baltic, Mediterranean, Black Sea, and North-East Atlantic beaches.

The EEA says disposable plastics are still the biggest contributory factor to beach and marine litter, but cigarette butts and filters were the most prevalent individual items.

Volunteers used the EEA Marine Litter Watch app to record their data after holding more than 1,600 beach clean-ups over a three-year period to 2017 before it was analysed by the agency.

In addition to cigarette butts and filters and plastics and polystyrene, other items included:

  • Pieces of glass and ceramics
  • Plastic cups and containers
  • Shopping bags
  • String and cord
  • Drink bottles and cans
  • Cotton bud sticks
  • Crisp and snack packets

The data from the EEA app tallies with other official statistics on beach and marine litter released by the EU and feeds into the Europe-wide plastics strategy, the first of its kind.

The EEA says that its most recent findings prove the value of collecting data using volunteers to supplement official statistics as the EU tries to get a better understanding of the extent of the beach and marine litter problem and take steps to tackle it.

  • The Marine LitterWatch app can be downloaded for Android and iOS devices from Google Playand the App Store.

(Banner image: Flickr)

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