Cabinet investigates banning filter cigarettes to fight litter
In an effort to decrease the proportion of litter attributed to filter cigarettes, State Secretary Vivianne Heijnen of Infrastructure and Water Management plans to investigate the possibility of implementing a ban on single-use filter cigarettes. However, she is tempering expectations, as the process is complex and its success remains uncertain.
The Cabinet wants a significant reduction in litter. Every year, anywhere from 240 million to 7.1 billion cigarette filters containing plastics and chemicals are discarded into the environment, the State Secretary wrote in a letter to the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of the Dutch parliament. "An overall ban on single-use cigarette filters appears to be the most effective option to counteract the harmful environmental effects of this type of litter."
Heijnen wants to follow two strategies. She plans to work with other European Union member states, as she said she believes “pursuing a ban has the highest chance of success within the European context.” In parallel, she will examine the possibility of a national ban, although this has a “low chance of success” because it would restrict the free movement of goods.
The State Secretary also intends to discuss with Dutch municipalities and provinces the possibility of a smoking ban at beaches and other locations where many cigarettes are frequently discarded.
Reporting by ANP