- Title: Paddling to the sea, Lebanese float on recycled cigarette butts
- Date: 18th September 2019
- Summary: KEHDI PADDLE BOARDING / BOARD MADE OF CIGARETTE BUTTS PADDLE BOARD
- Embargoed: 2nd October 2019 15:50
- Keywords: Lebanon environment recycling innovation paddle board cigarette butts
- Location: BEIRUT, LEBANON
- City: BEIRUT, LEBANON
- Country: Lebanon
- Topics: Pollution,Environment
- Reuters ID: LVA006AX6QMVV
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Activists in Lebanon cleaned up the seawater off Beirut's shore on Tuesday (September 17) on a paddle board made by recycling thousands of cigarette butts.
The first stand-up paddle board of its kind in Lebanon is made from 12,000 cigarette butts with low density styrofoam, 2mm cork sheet, ecological resin and fiberglass.
It fits two people, is leak-proof, weighs 12 kilogrammes and measures 3.2 metres in length. The board is 80 cm wide and 10 cm thick.
It was shaped by Paul Abbas, founder of Lebanon's Surf Factory, and will mainly be used for sea clean-ups by Recycle Lebanon in collaboration with the American University of Beirut (AUB)'s Neighbourhood Initiative.
The project, started in 2016, was funded by AUB's Tobacco-Free Initiative and it is not stopping at just one paddle board, another one is already in the works.
Over a period of 20 months, 240,000 cigarette butts weighing 80 kilogrammes were collected from around AUB, with 50 bins installed across the campus.
According to figures published by AUB Neighbourhood Initiative and Recycle Lebanon, Lebanon is ranked the third in the world for the highest cigarette consumption with 12.4 packs monthly per person and 3,023.15 cigarettes per capita annually in the country.
More bins have been installed in areas around AUB, partnering banks and companies, with more to be added in the future.
Upcoming paddle board will be designed by the winners of a design competition held by AUB and Recycle Lebanon.
Recycle Lebanon founder Joslin Kehdi knows the environmental damage from cigarette waste will not be reversed by recycling alone and said that the issue needs to be addressed at the source instead.
AUB and Recycle Lebanon said in data which they provided that a single cigarette butt can contaminate around nine litres of water in less than one hour, highlighting that cigarette filters are made of cellulose acetate, a plastic that biodegrades very slowly.
Even though Lebanon approved a law in 2012 limiting cigarette consumption in public places, it is not widely enforced.
In a private initiative, the AUB campus became completely tobacco-free as of August 2018.
(Production: Issam Abdallah, Ahmad Kerdi, Yara Abi Nader)
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