April 22, 2008

Enough with the Butts

One of my many pet peeves is seeing cigarette butts littering our beautiful beaches (it seems to be a prevalent problem with most beaches). There is absolutely no excuse for it. They are unsightly and are harmful to both sea life and water birds. Not to mention, it is always a bummer if a child has to pick out cigarette butts as he/she builds their dream sandcastle. So please, keep track of your butts and when you leave the beach, please have your butts leave with you.

The Brits seem to have the right idea:

Campaign to rid North Cornwall's beaches of cigarette butts

200 million cigarette butts are discarded each day in the UK and butts form almost ten percent of litter found on beaches. North Cornwall District Council is launching a campaign today to persuade smokers to use butt bins rather than leaving their butts in the sand.

North Cornwall District Council Beach Ranger, Jolyon Sharp explains:

"Cigarette butts contain up to 4,000 chemicals and cigarette filters can take up to 12 years to degrade.

"Unless we take action, there is a risk that our beaches will become giant ashtrays. Smokers can easily prevent this environmental pollution by stubbing out their cigarettes in butt bins. We will be giving out seventy free butt bins a week at certain beaches throughout the summer. Butt bins will also be available to buy at beach side shops."

Beach rangers and beach wardens have also set up butt collection points on beaches where smokers can empty their butt bins. They will also be handing out information leaflets and talking to smokers to tell them about the hazards of leaving their butts on the beach.

The butt bin campaign will be run on a trial basis at Polzeath and Summerleaze beaches this summer.

Richard Hardy, Surfers Against Sewage Campaigns Director says: "This is a great step forward in eradicating harmful beach litter. The local beaches will be all the better for it. SAS have provided butt bins to beachgoers for the past 5 years and we're delighted to see a local authority now providing these as part of their day to day beach clean operations. We believe NCDC is the first local authority in the country to actively promote the 'No Butts On The Beach' campaign message which gets a big thumbs up from the SAS crew!"

Amanda Booth, Executive Director of ENCAMS said: "Cigarette ends are the most prevalent type of litter found on all types of land, with beaches being no exception. ENCAMS research with the public reveals that people don't regard discarding their cigarette ends as littering so any campaign that can help change this behaviour is most welcome. We commend this excellent campaign on North Cornwall beaches, which will help maintain a good local environment for tourists and locals alike."

Andrea Crump, Litter Projects Coordinator for the Marine Conservation Society said "Cigarette litter is a large problem worldwide, and cigarette butts have been found in the stomachs of whales, turtles and bids. campaigns such as this can help to make a real difference to our environment, and MCS welcomes this initiative wholeheartedly".

Cllr Linda Spear is Chair of NCDC's Community Services Committee which is responsible for beach cleaning:

"We are very proud of our beautiful beaches in North Cornwall which we think are the best in the country. I urge smokers to use the butt bins. By taking just a little care, they can help us to make a real impact on litter and pollution on our beaches."



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