Environment

Bin your butt

Keep Australia Beautiful WA chairman Michael Aspinall said his vision for the recently launched Bin Your Butt campaign is the total removal of littered cigarette butts from WA’s environment.

Cigarette butts found on the jetty at Canning River. Photo: Kristen Ricciardi

Following his appearance in Mullaloo last week to launch Keep Australia Beautifuls latest anti-cigarette butt litter campaign, Mr Aspinall said smokers need to be reminded that flicking or dropping cigarette butts is littering and offenders will face fines.

“Under the Litter Act (1979), anyone incorrectly disposing of a cigarette butt can be fined $200. This includes flicking cigarettes from a vehicle and stubbing out and leaving butts in public areas such as footpaths, roads and gutters,” he said.

Additionally, if a cigarette butt is alight when dropped, it can lead to a $500 fine.

Environment Minister Stephen Dawson called for the campaign in response to some alarming statistics from last year.

According to last years statistics, 3376 of 9550 cigarettes were littered. Photo: Kristen Ricciardi

Clean Up Australia is a national organisation aiming to inspire all Australians to clean up, fix and conserve our environment.

Clean Up Australia spokesman Liam Rankine said he is concerned about Australia’s litter problem in general, and is worried about the damage cigarette butts do to Australia’s environment.

Mr Rankin said at the end of a clean up run by Clean Up Australia they ask volunteers to fill in a Rubbish Report. The Western Australian 2018 Rubbish Report noted that cigarette butts had the highest individual item count.

The Rubbish Report shows the types of items that were littered in Australia last year. Photo: provided.

The national report showed the same result, with cigarettes representing 20% of all recorded items.

“I think the most effective way to crack down on cigarette butt litter is through a combination of enforcement, education and ensuring there is appropriate infrastructure, ” said Mr Rankine.

“There are lots of councils already taking action on cigarette butt litter, and state governments are no different.”

Mr Rankin said there is a simple solution that current smokers should adopt.

“Put it in the bin, plain and simple.”

Keep Australia Beautiful has a range of programs that complement the Bin Your Butt campaign, including Adopt-a-Spot, Remote Community Clean ups, Clean Marine and Tidy Towns.

“We encourage Western Australians to sign up to become litter reporters as part of the Litter Reporter Scheme,” Mr Aspinall said.