It’s summertime and it means walking around the city, eating ice cream, and hanging out in the park.
Recently though, I get annoyed when in a park or any grassy area where a Swede can lie down and be a solar panel. There’s garbage everywhere. Specifically, snus and cigarette butts.
Cigarette crap is disgusting.
Why is there no where to sit? Why do people have to throw their butts everywhere? Gross. And why, in a city that is the “Green Capital of Europe” no one has bothered to clean up the parks?
Bottle caps, cigarette butts, snus pouches litter the parks all over the city. What’s wrong with people? The park grass is not a garbage bin. I am tired of seeing Swedes’ sucked on, drool disposed crap on the ground. With so many Swedes being concerned and downright fascist about the environment, few care about the implications of tobacco litter. Tobacco litter is dangerous for animals, the ground, and the water supply. Think about the 375 million pounds (500,000,000 liters) of worldwide tobacco litter produced in ONE year.
In 2003, 6,700 tonnes of snus were sold in Sweden. Another seven billion cigarette sticks were sold in Sweden. Seven billion cigarette pieces is 350 million packs of cigarettes sold per year. Or put it this way, 3.5 million liters is pure cigarette butts.
And where are the campaigns to reduce cigarette/snus waste and clean up in Sweden? None that I visibly see. There’s no Parks and Recreation Department here that deals with cigarette and snus garbage on a national scale. What about Keep Sweden Beautiful programs? Or “NO LITTER” signs on the highways and in parks. California has a $1000 litter fine if you’re unlucky and get caught. A hit to the pocketbook will scare anyone.
Surely, in a country that prides itself on eco-friendly products, recycling, and public transportation, they can get off their high horses and clean up the parks and cities in Sweden. I especially love people who call themselves “socialists, marxists, or liberals” and then proceed to put out their lit cigarette on the grass and leave it there.
Facts about Cigarette butts:
- Cigarette butts can take 5 to 12 years to fully biodegrade due to the cellulose acetate
- Plastic pieces are found in the stomachs of fish, birds, whales, and other marine creatures that mistake them as food.
- Wind and rain carry cigarette butts into waterways, where the toxic chemicals in the cigarette filters leak out and threaten the water supply and creatures living in it.
- Cigarettes contain over 165 chemicals – Some of the chemicals smokers inhale and reside on cigarette butts:
- Benzo[a]pyrene: found in coal tar and cigarette smoke and it is one of the most potent cancer causing chemical in the world.
- Arsenic: deadly poison that causes diarrhea, cramps, anemia, paralysis and malignant skin tumors. It is used in pesticides.
- Acetone: It’s one of the active ingredients in nail polish remover.
- Lead: Lead poisoning stunts growth, causes vomiting, and causes brain damage.
- Formaldehyde: causes cancer, can damage lungs, skin, and digestive systems. Embalmers use it to preserve dead bodies.
- Toluene: highly toxic, commonly use as an ingredient in paint thinner.
- Butane: highly flammable butane is one of the key components in gasoline.
- Cadmium: cause damage to the liver, kidneys and brain, and stays in the body for years.
Stockholm can do better. If you smoke or snus, save the environment and throw away the butts in a proper trash bin. Or get one of those smokeless cigarettes. Just don’t dump them on the ground either.