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বাংলা
Dhaka Tribune

Progga urges to ban cigarette filters and vaporizers to address plastic pollution

  • Urged to classify cigarette butts as hazardous plastic waste
  • Urged to avoid tobacco industry implementation of EPR
Update : 06 Mar 2024, 06:54 PM

Progga (Knowledge for Progress), a research and advocacy organization as well as a member of Stop Tobacco Pollution Alliance (STPA), has written a letter to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, urging the ministries to work together in banning cigarette filters and vaporizers to address plastic pollution.

The letter upheld a landmark decision on the implementation of Article 18 (Protection of the Environment) adopted by the 183 parties to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), Conference of the Parties (COP10), held on February 10, 2024.

WHO has recommended an immediate ban on cigarette filters and vaporizers as they are “unnecessary, avoidable and problematic, single-use plastics that are widely spread in the environment, killing microorganisms and marine life, as well as polluting oceans.” 

Several parties have already taken initiatives in terms of banning disposable vapes (Australia, UK), taxing the tobacco industry (Benin, Chad and Gambia), and calling for a ban on cigarette filters (Belgium, Netherlands). 

Regarding tobacco's toxic environmental impact, ABM Zubair, executive director of Progga (Knowledge for Progress) said: “On average, a staggering 71 billion cigarette filters are tossed into the environment each year in Bangladesh. Cigarette filter takes more than a decade to degrade and release more than 7,000 chemical substances in the process. To tackle plastic pollution, the government should ban the use of cigarette filters and vaporizers.”

Bangladesh is a party to the WHO FCTC, which provides global regulatory mandates relating to tobacco control. To shape the Revised Zero Draft Text in the upcoming INC4 negotiations on April 23-29, 2024, to develop a plastic pollution treaty, Progga stressed the need for closer collaboration between the two concerned ministries to ensure that cigarette filters and disposable vapes are recognized as problematic and avoidable plastic products that should be banned. 

Additionally, it was urged to classify cigarette butts as hazardous plastic waste, and prevent/avoid tobacco industry implementation of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR).

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