World Conference Debates Brazil’s Proposal on Tobacco Waste

    A controversial idea that generates much debate

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    A proposal from Brazil on the management of cigarette butts and other tobacco waste that pollute the environment began to be debated Thursday by delegates attending a global conference in Panama.

    Since Monday, representatives from more than 180 countries are reviewing the application of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) of the World Health Organization (WHO), in force since February 27, 2005.

    Environmental responsibility

    The Brazilian proposal in this tenth conference (COP10) of the FCTC refers mainly to environmental responsibility in the management of tobacco waste and has the support of other Latin American countries, including Mexico, Ecuador and Panama.

    “Governments in general look at it [waste] more as a problem for countries that have tobacco crops, which are large producers, but not for countries that are consumers,” Brazilian delegate Vera Luiza explained.

     “One of the very current discussions is what cigarette butts are thrown into the environment, into the oceans, into water sources, and how this implies environmental pollution,” he added.Tobacco not only causes damage to health, but also to the planet, highlighted the official, who directs the Framework Convention implementation office in Brazil.

    “What Brazil wants is for the discussion of the environment to be separated from the discussion on crop diversification, because this is more of a problem for the producing countries and the issue of the environment is for all countries that have consumers” of tobacco, Da said. Costa e Silva.“The idea is to begin collecting evidence [on the damage caused by tobacco waste] so that a decision based on science can be made at the next COP,” he said.

    Tobacco is currently estimated to kill more than eight million people a year worldwide, including 1.3 million passive smokers exposed to smoke, according to the WHO, but there are no global studies on the damage to the environment.

    Tourist engagement

    As part of the environmental issues at COP10, experiences in replacing tobacco crops and protecting marine ecosystems have been reviewed.“We have been able to transition more than 5,000 tobacco farmers in a region where these crops were prevalent,” the head of the Kenyan delegation, Mary MuthoniMuriuki, explained.

    The program has moved forward “with help from WHO, technical expertise and financial assistance to ensure that farmers have more [income]. “They are switching to products like green beans,” he added.

    Palau delegate CandanceKoshiba explained that her small island nation now requires tourists to sign a commitment to care for the environment by not littering cigarette butts on beaches or in the sea.“We must raise awareness that cigarette butts are made of plastic and are toxic to the marine environment,” Koshiba warned.

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