“Poisoning of our planet”: WHO highlights the damage caused by the tobacco industry to health and the environment

The tobacco industry costs the world more than eight million lives, 600 million trees and 84 million tonnes of carbon dioxide every year, a new report from the World Health Organization has revealed, calling its products a ‘the most littered items on the planet’.

The report titled “Tobacco: Poisoning Our Planet” revealed new information on the damage the industry has caused to both human health and the environment, calling for action to make the industry more accountable for destruction it has caused over the years.

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“Tobacco products are the most common item on the planet, containing more than 7,000 toxic chemicals, which leach into our environment when thrown away,” advocacy director Dr Ruediger Krech said on Tuesday. health at WHO.

“About 4.5 trillion cigarette filters pollute our oceans, rivers, sidewalks, parks, soils and beaches every year.”

According to the WHO, the costs of cleaning up unused tobacco products fall on taxpayers rather than the industry that creates the problem.

In Brazil and Germany, for example, the cost of cleaning up the waste left by tobacco products is over $200 million a year. It costs China $2.6 billion and India about $766 million.

The United Nations health organization has called on policymakers to treat cigarette filters as single-use plastics and consider banning them altogether to protect the environment and safeguard public health.

The water and agricultural land that is used to grow tobacco in low- and middle-income countries could be put to better use, for example, to produce food, which tobacco-growing countries so often desperately need, the Minister said. WHO.

The WHO has urged countries to follow the example of France, Spain and California in the United States, which have taken a stand against this by following the polluter pays principle which they have implemented. successful “extended producer responsibility legislation”, holding industry accountable for offsetting the pollution it creates.

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