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Cigarette butts hinder plant growth, the study shows



Trillion cigarette fences are spotted each year, which poses a risk to plant growth, research shows.

The presence of cigarette butts in the soil reduces the germination rate and clover shoots by 27% and 28%, respectively.

The results show that the weight of the roots is reduced by 57%.

For grass, the success rate of germination decreased by 10% and the length of shooting – by 13%, according to the team headed by Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) academics.

Most seals contain a filter made of cellulose acetate fibers, a type of bioplasma.

But the non-smoked cigarette filters had almost the same effect on plant growth as the filters used, indicating that damage to the plants was caused by the filter itself, even without the additional toxins released from the burning of the tobacco.

White Clover with Cigarette Ass after Seven Days (Jaime Da Silva Carvalho, Anglia Ruskin University / PA)

It is estimated that about 4.5 trillion cigarettes cross each year, making them the most common form of plastic pollution on the planet.

As part of this study, academics took samples from places around the city of Cambridge and found areas with up to 128 drops of smoked cigarettes per square meter.

Control experiments contain pieces of wood of identical shape and size, similar to cigarette lugs.

Leading author Dr. Daniel Green, senior biology professor at ARU, said: "Although it is a common sight of streets and parks worldwide, our study is the first to show the impact of cigarette smoking on plants.

"We found that they had a devastating effect on the success of germination and the length of the arrow both on grass and clover, and reduced the weight of clover roots by more than half.

"The rays and white clover, the two species we studied, are important feed crops for livestock, as well as common in urban green areas.

"These plants maintain a rich biodiversity even in urban parks, and white clover is ecologically important for pollinators and nitrogen fixation."

White clover with tree after seven days (Jaime Da Silva Carvalho, Anglia Ruskin University / PA)

She added that filters can take years, if not decades, to break down.

"The removal of cigarette smoke seems to be a socially acceptable form of pollution and we must raise awareness that filters do not disappear and can cause serious environmental damage instead," says Dr Greene.

Co-author Bass Boots added: "Although additional work is needed, we believe that the chemical composition of the filter causes damage to the plants.

"Most of them are made of cellulose acetate fibers, and the added chemicals that make the plastic more flexible, also called plasticizers, can also be extracted and adversely affect the early stages of plant growth."


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