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Frame rules for disposal of cigarette butts: NGT

The tribunal has asked CPCB to lay down guidelines within three months.FIle photo  

Following a report filed by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the board to lay down guidelines pertaining to disposal of cigarette and beedi butts within three months.

The report, based on a study conducted by the Indian Institute of Toxicology Research (IITR), however, says that concentration of various parameters analysed are lower than the prescribed limits and “will not be toxic to humans and environment”.

Taking a note of the report, a Bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said, “While tobacco is undoubtedly harmful and the concerned authorities are seized of the remedial action, the tribunal is mainly concerned with the manner of disposal of cigarette andbeedibutts. We do not find any valid reason to reject the expert report.”

The report dated August 20 read, “The analysis reflects that concentrations detected will not be toxic to human and environment. Cellulose acetate is a major component (95%) of the cigarette butts along with the wrapping paper and rayon. In general, the toxicity date are not available for cellulose acetate.”

“Cellulose acetate is a major component of the cigarette and beedi butts and its degradation studies show that it will persist for a longer duration. Recycling of cellulose acetate after recovery from cigarette butts may be suggested as one among the immediate solution to the problem until the degradation and safety data are generated,” it said.

The study added that natural environmental conditions and laboratory stimulating conditions would be required to conclude the safety or toxicity of cigarette butts to further correlate with human and environmental health risk assessment.

The NGT directions came while hearing a plea moved by NGO ‘Doctors for You’ that sought instructions to regulate the disposal of cigarette andbeedibutts apart from prohibiting consumption of tobacco in public places.