Call for more action on Cig Litter
04 December 2009
Keep Britain Tidy today urged the cigarette industry to act to educate smokers on the impact of cig litter.
The call comes as the charity releases a viral highlighting the problem of smoking litter.
Cigarette butts, matches, empty packets and their wrappers are England’s biggest litter problem and are found on 78% of our streets.
Keep Britain Tidy says smokers should not be treating the streets like a giant ashtray but also wants the cigarette industry to shoulder more responsibility too.
Phil Barton, Keep Britain Tidy chief executive said: “The sheer size and scale of the cigarette litter problem is shameful and disgusting. Clearly many smokers have yet to be convinced that their cigarette stubs are litter and they seem happy to drop them everywhere.
“Cigarettes are litter – once dropped they are very difficult to clean up and blight the majority of the streets and roads in England. Smokers need to act responsibly, get a personal ashtray or use a bin.
“We have had early talks with cigarette manufacturers and hope to be able to work with them to tackle this major problem for our streets. Quick action is undoubtedly needed.”
Keep Britain Tidy Charity worked with production company MJZ and its director Christopher Glass on the new cigarette litter viral.
Christopher, who is based in the US, was spurred into action following a visit to London which coincided with the smoking ban.
He said: “I was in London for a job and I noticed cigarette litter everywhere. It occurred to me that because cig butts are so small, they are not often perceived as being litter.
“When you see thousands of them strewn along the floor outside pubs it is a terrible sight.
“I imagined that if they were much larger they’d get in everyone’s way. People would have to step through and over them so you couldn’t ignore them.
“I wanted to make an ad that wasn’t a judgement on whether or not people chose to smoke but rather about how cigarette litter is the same as any other litter.”
The film depicts Londoners battling through the capital against a sea of giant cig butts. From Monday it is available to view at www.keepbritaintidy.org
Keep Britain Tidy urges smokers to use new personal ashtrays available on high streets for less than £1. Portable ashtrays are a great way of offering smokers the chance to make responsible choices about how they dispose of their cigarette butts regardless of whether they are near a bin or not. We urge UK retailers to stock and sell these items to encourage smokers to do the right thing.
Businesses also need to have smoking bins outside premises. Owners of pubs, restaurants and office buildings have a duty to encourage customers/employees not to drop butts.
Dropping a cigarette butt is an offence which can lead to a fine of £80. More and more councils are fining people for this offence. It takes months and in some circumstances years for a cigarette butt to degrade.
To view the credit list of the cast and crew involved in the "Big Cig" viral click here