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Smoking ban and increased litter

Cigarette butts on Bridgnorth High StreetSince the smoking ban there has been a very significant increase in the amount of cigarette butts thrown on the floor by irresponsible smokers in Bridgnorth. The Town Council work force have installed new cigarette / chewing gum bins to address this problem last year. Alas, when I asked about the bins not having a sign I was told that the bins went up too soon and the signs would follow.

A new cigarrete bin with no signFour months later and the new bins still don’t have a sign to say what they are. From what I have seen, the bins with out a sign are not being used. The picture on the right shows a new bin, with no sign, not being used! It also shows the normal bin next to it being used as an ash tray.

A chewing gum and cigarette butt bin with a sign The bins that say what they are are not emptied often enough. I have seen them over flowing with ‘dog ends’. So responsible smokers can’t dispose of their butts, even if they wanted to!

Judging by the sheer volume of cigarette butts on the floor around the town then these bins IMG00062.jpgare only going to address a small proportion of the problem. To cap it all I saw two operatives from BDC litter picking on the High Street last week, who were only picking up the large items of rubbish. They could have filled their black bags twice over if they had been picking up the butts as well.

    Butt Facts:

  • 4dunnowh.jpgCigarette filters may look like cotton, but are made of cellulose acetate, a plastic that is slow to degrade in the environment. Cigarette filters are specifically designed to accumulate particulate smoke components including toxic chemicals.
  • closewom.jpgThe Governemnt earned £7,600 million in revenue from tobacco duty (ex VAT) in 2006-07. Meanwhile they only spent £13.5m on education campaigns and £56m to help people stop smoking. Perhaps they should be spending a much higher proportion on cleaning up the mess as well!
  • 69% of smokers have filtered cigarettes in the UK
  • About a quarter of the population smokes an average of 12 cigarettes a day.
  • During a year one smoker produces 4,380 cigarette butts a year, equal to about 15 kilograms.
  • 3000 people (roughly a quarter of Bridgnorth’s population) would produce about 45 metric tons of cigarette butts.

If you want to quit smoking try going to Ash or the national no smoking day website.

I will be sending an email to the Street Scene Manager at Bridgnorth District Council to let him know how disgusted I am. Bridgnorth is a tourist town and more needs to be done year round to keep it looking spotless.