Not just the smoke of a cigarette, its ‘butt’, the cellophane sheets cover on the pack too are major environmental and health hazards. This was claimed in a PIL in the Delhi High Court which sought the Centre and Delhi government’s response on it.
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Not just the cigarette butt or filter, but the cellophane sheet covering the packs and the aluminium foil inside them are also harmful to the environment, the petition has claimed.
It has sought direction to the manufacturers to set up bins, one for each of the three items, near every ‘paan’ shop or cigarette retail outlet within six to eight months.
A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal issued notice to the Ministries of Environment, Forests and Climate Change and Health and Family Welfare as well as the Delhi government and sought their reply to the plea by May 24.
The order came on the petition by one Sridhar Kotagiri, who claims to be a philanthropist.
In his plea filed through advocate Anupam Tripathi, Kotagiri has contended that the three non-biodegradeable materials affect the water table as they release toxic chemicals on coming into contact with water.
The petition has contended that cellophane sheet cover, the aluminium foil and the cigarette butts are littered everywhere, leading to serious environmental issues.
“That environmental experts are of the unanimous opinion that the butt of cigarette which is made of plasticised cellulose, acetate, which remains in its original form in environment and takes between 8-12 years to biodegrade.
“Even after such a decade long period it only breaks into smaller parts which contribute to soil and water pollution,” it has also said.
The petitioner has claimed that the central government “appears to be oblivious to the damage, irreparable injury and irreversible damage being caused” by these non-biodegradeable materials.