Council tackles cigarette litter focusing on its effect on wildlife

1 August 2019

Cheshire West and Chester Council’s latest Love Your Streets campaign will focus on smokers who drop cigarette litter.

Cigarette butts, matches, empty packets and their wrappers are a big litter problem across the country and to make things worse it takes months, and in some conditions, years for a cigarette butt to degrade.

Recent photographs on-line have shown heart-breaking images of a mother bird giving a cigarette butt to her baby as food.  (Image Credit: Karen Catbird Mason on Facebook)

Council officers from Regulatory Services will be taking to the streets from next week to hand out anti-litter reusable pocket ashtrays (for gum and cigarettes) to any smokers seen to be disposing of their cigarette litter responsibly, while also issuing Fixed Penalty Notices to anyone caught littering.

The new portable ashtrays have an eye-catching and unusual design depicting the pocket on a pair of jeans and giving the instruction “PARK YOUR BUTT HERE”.  The portable ashtrays will only be issued as a 'thank you' to smokers for using the appropriate bins or ashtrays to dispose of their litter, they will not be available from Council offices.

The Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways and Strategic Transport, Councillor Karen Shore said:  “Officers will be issuing one of our new reusable ashtrays as a 'thank you' to people seen disposing of their litter responsibly.  Anyone caught flicking their butt onto the street risks a fine.

“Smoking-related litter, in particular cigarette butts are unsightly and difficult to clean up.  Cigarette butt filters fall into grids and cracks in the pavement, and can be missed by normal cleaning processes.  Eventually, they can then make their way into the sea poisoning marine life.

“Many smokers dispose of their litter properly, but others seem to think that cigarette butts aren’t litter at all.  No butts…cigarette butts are litter and our officers will be out and about spreading this message to make our streets cleaner.”

Dropping a cigarette butt is littering and an offence which can lead to a Fixed Penalty Notice being issued for £120, or a fine of up to £2,500 and a criminal conviction if the matter proceeds to court.

Anyone wanting to quit smoking can get support from the NHS Smoke Free website.

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