June 18, 2020 – This Saturday a new movement will be started in Zagreb, MaNaBu, the goal of which is to educate people about the damage caused by cigarette butts.
Everything we do has an impact on the wider world around us – for better or for worse. Our daily actions, movements, and habits determine our ecological future. One of these habits – smoking, and the resultant debris that litters our parks and waterways – presents a huge burden on the ecosystem, and only serves to degrade the places we all want to enjoy for generations to come. That’s not to say we haven’t come a long way. For the most part, we’re pretty good these days at making sure our food wrappers and drink containers make it to the bin, and we understand that doing so keeps our cities and towns clean and tidy. We wish we could say the same about cigarette litter, the impact of which goes far beyond the urban fringe. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.
Cigarette filters, or “butts”, are usually made from cellulose acetate fibres (a kind of microplastic), which, while technically biodegradable, take years to do so under natural conditions. These filters also contain a variety of toxic chemicals including heavy metals and arsenic (once used in agricultural insecticides and poisons). Globally, around 4.5 trillion filters are improperly disposed of each year, and a large portion of these end up in our rivers, lakes, and oceans, harming and killing marine life of all shapes and sizes on an unimaginable scale. Those 4.5 trillion filters weigh approximately the same as 127,000 African bull elephants. Many smokers believe cigarette filters to be entirely biodegradable and harmless due to their natural, paper-like feel. This threat is then compounded by broad societal acceptance of cigarette litter – flicking away the end of your smoke is often an automatic and thoughtless (read: careless) action. Why is one form of litter perceived as acceptable and another unacceptable, when the immense negative impact is the same?
The butt stops here. We must all take collective responsibility, today, to ensure a more sustainable tomorrow for our children. Building a cleaner, greener planet starts on the ground floor – who better to teach the importance of looking after the environment and help us eliminate bad habits than the children themselves? By empowering our children to become involved in real community action, we can engender in them a lifelong spirit to bring about positive solutions and help avert environmental catastrophe. We can’t think of a better time to start than the upcoming summer solstice – the dawn of a long, hot summer of societal and environmental change for the greater good. Taking care of the planet is so simple, easy, and achievable that even a child can do it – it’s a walk in the park. Young people from across Croatia will take part in an action to remove cigarette butts and other litter from the park. By involving our children in the wider community in this way, we can empower them to become active citizens in their local community and ensure cleaner spaces for us all to enjoy. Children and parents are encouraged to join us and can RSVP through Facebook.
MaNaBu wants to empower children to stand up and make a positive impact. It starts by removing and reducing ever-pervasive cigarette litter in our otherwise beautiful parks and civic areas, with children leading the charge to #keepthemclean. One of two education think-tank finalists at the 2019 Kairos Europe Summit in October 2019 @HFarm – Europe’s leading innovation campus, MaNaBu Movements aim to empower children to become future leaders and activists for a more sustainable tomorrow, by bringing about real grassroots neighbourhood impact and solutions to problems faced on both a local and global scale.
MaNaBu is also supported by the US State Department, World Chicago, the Croatian Chamber of Economy, and ICC Croatia (UN observer mission).
Our vision is to provide accessible opportunities for every child to be able to reach their full potential through play, practical skills, education and life experiences outside of the classroom, and to help them build a world where kindness, sustainability, and universal prosperity are the underlying foundations upon which this world is constructed.
Join the movement at https://www.facebook.com/MaNaBuMovement/.