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Bogota, Quantifying The Blight Of Cigarette Butts

Littered landscape in Bogota
Littered landscape in Bogota
Pablo Correa

BOGOTÁ Colombians can add pollution caused by millions of cigarette butts to an already varied list of environmental calamities that include deforestation, forest fires and the pesticides and mercury dumped into their rivers.

It's the huge number of discarded cigarette butts that add gravity to what might seem an insignificant problem. In Bogotá alone, 95 million cigarette butts wind up on the pavement every year, and each cigarette end contains 4,000 chemical substances, 50 of which can cause cancer. Those that make their way into drains dissolve and pollute the country's waterways.

Universidad Piloto researchers William Lozano-Rivas, Rommel Bonilla and Alexandra Salinas compiled the stunning figures for a study published in the International Journal of Research Studies in Science, Engineering and Technology.

They found that the 95 million butts thrown to the ground constitute just 13% to 19% of all cigarettes smoked in Bogotá annually. Their weight, 16 tons, is but a fraction of the 6,500 tons of trash the capital generates daily and of the 10 million or more tons of trash produced every year nationwide.

Curiously, the study's social conclusion was that the government should amend its anti-smoking laws to keep cigarette butts from winding up into the drains. New laws had forced smokers outside of buildings and onto the pavement, but it seems nobody had thought to place ash disposals at building entrances.

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Violence Against Women, The Patriarchy And Responsibility Of The Good Men Too

The femicide of Giulia Cecchettin has shaken Italy, and beyond. Argentine journalist Ignacio Pereyra looks at what lies behind femicides and why all men must take more responsibility.

photo of a young man holding a sign: Filippo isn't a monster, he's the healthy son of the patriarchy

A protester's sign referring to the alleged killer reads: Filippo isn't a monster, he's the healthy son of the patriarchy

Matteo Nardone/Pacific Press via ZUMA Press
Ignacio Pereyra

Updated Dec. 3, 2023 at 10:40 p.m.


ATHENS — Are you going to write about what happened in Italy?, Irene, my partner, asks me. I have no idea what she's talking about. She tells me: a case of femicide has shaken the country and has been causing a stir for two weeks.

As if the fact in itself were not enough, I ask what is different about this murder compared to the other 105 women murdered this year in Italy (or those that happen every day around the world).

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We are talking about a country where the expression "fai l'uomo" (be a man) abounds, with a society so prone to drama and tragedy and so fond of crime stories as few others, where the expression "crime of passion" is still mistakenly overused.

In this context, the sister of the victim reacted in an unexpected way for a country where femicide is not a crime recognized in the penal code, contrary to what happens, for example, in almost all of Latin America.

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