Campaign started to stamp out cigarette butt littering in Sidmouth

  Posted: 18.07.19 at 15:16 by Joseph Bulmer

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A campaign has been launched to stamp out cigarette butt littering in Sidmouth.

A poster and social media campaign has begun to try to tackle the problem which, according to the woman spear heading the campaign, has been highlighted by recent dry weather.

According to figures from the United Nations, 70% of all cigarettes are littered and in Sidmouth many of those cigarette butts end up in the sea where they pollute the water and harm wildlife.

Town and district councillor Denise Bickley is leading the campaign, she told Sidmouth Nub News: “The current dry spell shows the size of the issue of cigarette butts, they are everywhere.

“A heavy rain shower will wash them down the drains and directly into the sea, where every single one can pollute five litres of water. They contain toxic chemicals and are made from plastic, so are not biodegradable as many people assume. Dropping butts is no different to any other forms of littering.

“We hope this poster might cause some behaviour changes, and we'd like it up everywhere so if anyone would like some copies let me know, or perhaps print it out yourself. We are hoping to get funding for some butt bins in key areas, such as the corner of East St and High St, and on the seafront.

The campaign poster.

“We would respectfully ask that pubs, clubs and cafes with outside seating areas get some ash trays with lids. We would be interested to hear from any businesses who require long handled dustpan and brushes, if they wish to keep their outside areas clear.”

She added: “Together we can make changes to behaviour, through education and discussion.”

Around 35 billion cigarettes are sold in Britain every year and each butt can take up to 15 years to degrade.

Sidmouth Nub News contacted councillor Louise Thompson, Sidmouth Town Council Tourism and Economy Committee vice-chair, for her views on the issue. She said: “I love how Denise is bringing environmental issues, big and small, to the community at large.

“It’s one of those things which you become accustomed to and that shows how normalised seeing cigarette butts has become. This campaign raises awareness of this important issue and gives us concrete steps to take to improve the situation in our town.

“Economy and ecology work hand in hand. Sidmouth is perceived to be an up market and classy place to visit which means people don’t expect to see it here, making it more jarring when they do. It’s not in keeping with the image we want to present to people visiting the area.

“Also, as residents we want a clear and beautiful environment to live in. There’s no planet B for us to move to.”

If you would like to find out more or would like to request a poster or equipment to tackle the problem, contact councillor Denise Bickley by emailing [email protected]

To see a copy of the poster, either scroll through our picture gallery at the top of the page or click the red button below.

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