In the lead up to World No Tobacco Day, 31st May, The Clean Earth Trust is inviting islanders to join them in a weeklong litter pick of cigarette butts to help raise awareness of their impact on the environment.
The initiative, as part of the Trust’s 4.5 Trillion Project, will start with a “dawn to dusk” litter pick on the 23rd May by the Trust’s Chairman, Andrew Munro, who in 2019 collected 7,500 in 12 hours.
“Whilst we fully support the health messages of World No Tobacco Day, our focus is on stopping this waste stream from entering the environment and impacting wildlife. We have had some success in bringing this into the public consciousness within the Bailiwick, however it is clear that there remains a lot of work to be done. We hope that through these ongoing initiatives and planting seeds of individual responsibility to spark long term behavioral change,” explains Andrew.
Although they’re less than two centimetres in length and weigh less than a gram, cumulatively cigarette filters, or butts, contribute over 700,000 tonnes of waste every year. They are the most littered item in the world, with 4.5 trillion dropped year on year. In the UK alone cigarette butts account for approximately 30 percent of all street litter, with 120 tonnes (roughly the size of a Blue Whale) of cigarette-related waste ending up on the streets every single day.
“From the data we have logged so far this year, cigarettes are the most littered item across the island. In a recent beach clean at Pembroke, 919 were found in just over an hour. We have also been cigarette circling in town with chalk and found over 300 in a single street in under 30 minutes. During our time in town we have received mixed responses from the public, which has also helped highlight how accustomed people are to casually dropping this type of waste on the floor,” adds Helen Quin, Community Engagement.
There are several ways to take part:
Individuals, families, schools and businesses from across the Bailiwick are invited to collect and count cigarette butts in the week leading up to WNTD. Participants should send their count, along with the location, date and a picture to email@example.com
Participants can support Andrew’s dawn to dusk pick-up by either joining him for an hour during the day, or sponsoring his efforts via giving.gg For anyone wishing to join the clean-up, it will take place between 4am and 9pm on 23rd May - contact the team at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a time-slot
Those wanting to join the next cigarette circling session in town, can meet the CET team at The Sunken Gardens on Friday 28th May at 1-2pm.
A drop-off point for cigarette butts will be open between 10am and 3pm at the Tourist Information Centre on 31st May. All the cigarette’s collected will be put on display to highlight the scale of the issue.
All those taking part in collecting cigarette butts are strongly advised to use gloves and to store cigarette butts in an airtight container. More information can be found at https://www.facebook.com/TheCleanEarthTrust