Environment

Tobacco product waste of 6900 tonnes puts burden on the environment and polluting it: study

P Srininvasan I Jaipur

Throwing away the packing materials of tobacco products in open is polluting our environment. The annual waste by all tobacco products in Rajasthan is 6899.97 tonnes. To access the environment burden, a study was carried out at the National and State levels in 33 districts of 17 states and UTs across the country. The study was carried out by All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Jodhpur, The Union (International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases) and SRKPS (Shikshit Rojgar Kendra Prabhandhak Samiti).

Total Annual Plastic Waste

Cigarettes – 78.79 tonnes

Bidis – 605.97 tonnes

Smokeless Tobacco – 2323.34 tonnes.

Total annual plastic waste – 3008.09 tonnes

Total Annual Paper Waste

Cigarettes – 1213.22 tonnes.

Bidis – 515.72 tonnes.

Smokeless Tobacco – 1874.51 tonnes.

Total annual paper waste – 2390.23 tonnes.

Total Annual Foil Waste

Total   annual   foil   waste (Cigarettes)    – 234.59 tonnes

Total Annual Filter Waste

Cigarettes – 50.63 tonnes. Bidis – 3.22 tonnes.

Total annual filter waste – 53.85 tonnes

Total Annual Waste by All Tobacco Products in Rajasthan

Cigarettes – 1577.22 tonnes

Bidi – 1124.91 tonnes

Smokeless Tobacco – 4197.85 tonnes

Total – 6899.97 tonnes

Prevalence of Tobacco Use

Current tobacco users in Rajasthan – 24.7%

Current Cigarette smokers in Rajasthan – 2.8%

Current Bidi smokers in Rajasthan – 11.4%

Current Smokeless Tobacco users in Rajasthan – 14.1%

Source: Global Adult Tobacco Survey II: India 2016-17 Report

SRKPS representative Rajan Choudhary said that packing material of the tobacco products both smoked and smokeless in form plastic, paper, foil and filter waste are thrown in open, as the result environment is getting polluted. He said that these wastes block the drains, lying scattered on the roads, pollutes water and lands.

The study revealed that total annual waste by all tobacco products in Rajasthan is 6899.97 tonnes including Cigarettes – 1577.22 tonnes, Bidis – 1124.91 tonnes, Smokeless Tobacco – 4197.85 tonnes.

Plastic waste produced by tobacco use is equivalent to 30 lakh standard plastic buckets; 59084 trees are cut annually to be used for Paper packaging, with waste equivalent to the weight of 32 lakh notebooks; Filter waste produced is equivalent to 3 lakh 58,000 standard adult sized T-Shirts and 1 Boeing 747 aircraft can be made of the aluminium waste produced annually.

Choudhary said that the study has recommended need for a comprehensive policy deterrent and for a financial levy to be borne by the manufacturers; need to sensitise stakeholders for effective implementation of existing regulations for tobacco waste management to reduce its environmental impact and tobacco companies and their shareholders must take full responsibility to reduce the environmental burden of their products and comply with environmental laws. The study further suggested that the violation of existing environmental laws and policies related to solid wastes/packaging should be strictly monitored, reported and implemented to ensure compliance. Given the irreversible impact of plastics on the environment and the human body, the unnecessary plastic waste generated from the tobacco need stronger and urgent policy implementation, it further stated.

The study was released on World No Tobacco Day state level function in Jaipur by World Health Organisation Country Head Dr Roderico H Ofrin, Health minister Parsadi Lal Meena, health secretary Dr Prithviraj, NHM MD Dr Jitendra Kumar Soni, ACB ADG BL Soni and others.

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