Butts are litter too

Wednesday, 16 August, 2006

Increasing butt litter poses a growing environmental threat to our natural habitats, says the Butt Littering Trust in response to a recent national litter survey.

The Keep Australia Beautiful National Litter Index released by Ian Campbell, Federal Minister for the Environment, showed a significant increase in butt littering around the country " WA up 11%, SA and QLD up 5%, NSW up by 3% and VIC down by 3% from the last survey conducted in 2005.

"It is a growing problem and we believe this is due to the lack of smoker education on the environmental impact and the lack of butt littering controls accompanying the introduction of smoking bans," Ian Coles, chair of the Butt Littering Trust said.

The Trust supports the recent agreement between federal and state governments to create a national plan to combat the butt litter issue.

"Our programs have recognised a 26% average drop in butt litter across 41 project areas around Australia. This has been achieved through the introduction of butt bins, face-to-face interviews with offenders, distribution of information and encouragement to use personal ashtrays. This approach has gone some way to easing the problem and provides a key to greater success. It will take more than an advertising campaign for sustained reduction," Coles said.

"We have concluded that many smokers have the willingness to do the right thing. We, along with others, need to harness this sentiment to reverse current behaviour and stop the estimated 7 billion butts that hit the pavement every year.

"Smokers have had a positive reaction to our projects once they realise that flicking their butts is actually littering. Over 12,000 smokers pledges to "Please butt it, then bin it' were collected in one week across seven Butt Free City projects conducted by the Trust earlier this year."

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