A big thank you to Emma Wright and the team at Knoll Beach who, for the last two months, have hosted our “Bin Your Butt” stand outside their bookshop.
The stand tells the story of the day in May 2019 when 16 volunteers turned up to Blitz The Butts in Swanage. They collected nearly 5kg of soggy cigarette butts, and there is no doubt there would have been many more if the overnight rain hadn’t washed them down the drains.
Their aim was to clear the streets of cigarette butts, and to bring attention to the problem, because normal street-cleaning (or indeed beach-cleaning) cannot keep pace with the rate that cigarette butts are being discarded. So please “Bin Your Butt”.
Cigarette butts are the most commonly found form of ocean litter, and in 2014 the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup initiative (ICC) volunteers collected 2m of them.
Discarded cigarette butts are non-biodegradable and they are also the most common form of litter found in beach clean ups. It is estimated that around 4 trillion cigarette ends are discarded across the world each year.
As well as being unsightly, cigarette butts are a toxic contaminant, which leach numerous chemicals including heavy metals, nicotine and ethylphenol in water. Discarded butts pose a threat to animals and people, particularly young children if ingested, which is not uncommon.
Source: ASH Fact Sheet on Tobacco and the environment www.ash.org.uk