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India spends $766 mn on cleaning up littered tobacco products every year: WHO

India spends $766 mn on cleaning up littered tobacco products every year: WHO

Every year the tobacco industry costs the world more than 8 million human lives, 600 million trees, 200 000 hectares of land, 22 billion tonnes of water and 84 million tonnes of CO2, the WHO noted.

India spends $766 mn on cleaning up littered tobacco products every year: WHO India spends $766 mn on cleaning up littered tobacco products every year: WHO

India spends roughly $766 million on cleaning up littered tobacco products every year, estimated a World Health Organization (WHO) report on Tuesday.  

The report titled “Tobacco: Poisoning our planet” highlighted that the industry’s carbon footprint from production, processing and transporting tobacco is equivalent to one-fifth of the CO2 produced by the commercial airline industry each year, further contributing to global warming.  

“The costs of cleaning up littered tobacco products fall on taxpayers, rather than the industry creating the problem. Each year, this costs China roughly US$ 2.6 billion and India roughly $766 million. The cost for Brazil and Germany comes in at over $200 million,” said the report.  

Every year the tobacco industry costs the world more than 8 million human lives, 600 million trees, 200 000 hectares of land, 22 billion tonnes of water and 84 million tonnes of CO2, the WHO noted. 


“Tobacco products are the most littered item on the planet, containing over 7000 toxic chemicals, which leech into our environment when discarded. Roughly 4.5 trillion cigarette filters pollute our oceans, rivers, city sidewalks, parks, soil and beaches every year,” said Dr Ruediger Krech, Director of Health Promotion at WHO. 

The majority of tobacco is grown in low-and-middle-income countries, where water and farmland are often desperately needed to produce food for the region. Instead, they are being used to grow deadly tobacco plants, while more and more land is being cleared of forests, the report said. 

The apex public health agency in the report revealed new information on the extent to which tobacco damages both the environment and human health, calling for steps to make the industry more accountable for the destruction it is causing. 

India is also the second largest consumer and producer of tobacco. A variety of tobacco products are available at very low prices in the country. Nearly 267 million adults (15 years and above) in India (29% of all adults) are users of tobacco, according to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey India, 2016-17. The most prevalent form of tobacco use in India is smokeless tobacco and commonly used products are khaini, gutkha, betel quid with tobacco and zarda. Smoking forms of tobacco used are bidi, cigarette and hookah. 

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