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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Coronavirus

Texas In Germany? Saxony Mixes Anti-Vaxxers And Far-Right Politics

When it comes to vaccination rates, there are striking parallels between Germany and the United States. The states with the most opposition to vaccines differ politically from those with the highest vaccination rates. Now the consequences for booster shots are starting to become visible, especially in the United States.

A protest in Saxony last year against COVID-19 restrictions

Zentralbild/dpa via ZUMA
Daniel Friedrich Sturm

-Analysis-

WASHINGTON — Ok, so Saxony was singled out last week in a New York Times article as an example of the disastrous vaccination situation in parts of Europe. The article talks about the link between anti-vaxxers and the political success of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party in the eastern German state.

In a sense, Saxony is Germany's Texas. For instance, 59% of U.S. citizens are fully vaccinated, but in strictly Republican Texas, where Donald Trump overwhelmingly won the 2020 election, this figure stands at 54%.

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