If you love to smoke at Fatehsagar make sure you don’t commit this mistake

fatehsagar lake

Fatehsagar has been my sweetest memory of Udaipur and it will continue to be that. The calm breeze, breath taking sunset and tranquillity has stitched FS on the top of my heart like a blood red pocket on a white t-shirt, So much that when I am describing it I can almost smell that moist air brushing my face. Fatehsagar is not Fatehsagar just because of its beauty or charm it has made its place in our heart because of the endless conversations with friends, those slow rounds of the pal after tuition, and the sizzling coffee traversing down the throat on a cold night.  I remember the good times, the good drives and the good coffee just by the mention of its name. But in this tipsiness of good times are we forgetting the well-being of this majestic lake?

I am an educated environment conscious guy and all my friends belong to the same category. But one fine day when one of my friends tossed a cigarette butt on Rani road I was forced to reconsider.

For some reasons littering cigarette butts is considered acceptable than throwing a lays packet out of the car window. On an average let’s assume 1000 cigarettes are smoked on FS per day (since it is an offense the figure is on the loose side), that becomes 30,000 a month and a whopping 3,60,000 cigarettes a year. I am sure that not every cigarette butt ends up floating in the FS but in the US cigarette butts are the single most items picked up during cleaning of the beaches[1]  so we can safely assume that cigarette butts can be one of the major polluting factors of FS as well.

By one estimate, around two-thirds of the 6 trillion cigarettes smoked worldwide every year end up being dropped, flicked or dumped into the environment – around 750,000 tons in total.

Cigarette butt

Cigarette Butt

No, cigarette butts are not biodegradable

Most Cigarette filters are made of plasticized cellulose acetate and they are not biodegradable. They are however broken down into smaller particles when exposed to sunlight and gets swept down in the water and cause water pollution.

Effect on aquatic life

Cigarette butts can start leaching harmful chemicals such as cadmium, lead and arsenic within an hour of contact with water and experiments have shown that they can kill a variety of freshwater invertebrates. Researchers studied the effect of soaked cigarette butts on two types of fishes and found that one cigarette butt per liter was water was enough to kill a fish. [2]

Solution

The best solution to this problem is not making biodegradable filters but reaching out to smokers and educate them about the consequences.Biofilterss can still cause fires and release toxins into the water. Stricter smoking laws will go a long way in protecting the lake.

So the next time you smoke near the lake and toss the filter and that wrapper of pulse candy on the Pal road give a shake to your “SWACH BHARAT” Philosophy then think of what damage you are doing to the dear lake Fatehsagar.

References

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2697937/
  2. http://tobaccocontrol.bmj.com/content/20/Suppl_1/i25

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