In a bid to curb environmental pollution, a Punjab-based man has begun a company that converts cigarette filters into home decor items and mosquito repellents. As per environmental experts, discarded cigarette filters, also known as cigarette butts are one of the major contributors to land pollution. The plastic content called cellulose acetate in the filters takes up to 10 years to decompose.
A resident of Mohali, Twinkle Kumar has undertaken a project to battle land pollution by recycling cigarette butts into toys, cushions and mosquito repellents. To gather as much raw material (cigarette butts) as possible, Kumar has also installed public dustbins in all smoking zones across Mohali city. His initiative is being supported by local women, who are engaged in collection, processing and conversion of the butts, ANI reported.
"I got to know about the concept of cigarette recycling, and it intrigued me. I approach the company that was already doing this and learned the process. After that, I started my business in Mohali," Twinkle Kumar said during an interview with ANI.
Kumar acquired knowledge of cigarette butt recycling through online videos on YouTube. He wanted to begin something of his own after he lost his job during the first phase of the Covid-19 lockdown in India. As told to ANI, Kumar was "intrigued" by the idea of saving the environment. He joined a company that was already into the business. After being formally trained, Kumar opened his business in Mohali and employed a group of local women to provide them a daily wage.
Talking about his journey, Kumar said that the business did face problems in the initial stage. However, people were supportive after they learned the motive behind the business.
Adding details about his business, he said that the women collect the butts from the bins placed at the city's commercial smoking zones. The filters are then brought to the manufacturing unit to clean eliminate the toxic components present in them. They are run under chemical processing for complete detoxification before they are converted into the final products, Kumar informed.
"Though, people should not smoke at all. However, for the people who were smoking cigarettes despite the health risk, we request them to discard the butts at collection boxes," Kumar said.
Lastly, Kumar raised awareness about the environmental damages caused by the casual disposal of cigarette butts. "When dumped in the environment they not only cause plastic pollution but also release nicotine and other chemicals they absorbed," Kumar said. He also urged people to specifically use the cigarette butts-disposal bins in order to mitigate environmental pollution.