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Highland Council launches campaign to get smokers to bin their butts (23/07/12)
The Highland Council has launched a campaign in Inverness city centre to tackle the littering of cigarette butts on streets and pavements.
During the Council's zero tolerance campaigns which are run quarterly throughout the Highlands, statistics showed that the majority of fixed penalty notices issued are for the dropping of cigarette litter. In order to raise awareness and tackle the problem, Council staff are going to be out and about in the city centre this week speaking to smokers, offering free portable ashtrays and handing out car stickers to spread the word throughout the Highland area. They will be joined by a mascot to help promote the “Bin Your Butt” message.
Education and Enforcement officers will also be visiting business premises asking them to sign up to a voluntary litter control notice. By signing up to the notice, businesses will be agreeing to arrange to have the immediate area cleaned of all litter identified as coming from their premises each evening after closing.
Councillor Bet McAllister, The Highland Council’s Vice Chairman of Transport Environmental and Community Services, said: “Cigarette butts thrown on streets and pavements are not just unsightly, but they cause all sorts of problems. Butts become trapped between paving stones and are then washed into drains and can cause blockages which in turn can lead to flooding issues. They also leak toxins that contaminate water and can harm marine life. Many smokers believe butts are biodegradable, but due to their plastic content experts believe they could take 10-12 years to degrade. It is therefore important to get the message across that throwing butts away is an offence and smokers need to make use of all the bins provided and be much more aware of how they discard their butts.”
Mike Smith, Manager of Inverness BID said “We fully support this campaign by The Highland Council. Reducing litter created in this way makes sense and we would encourage the public and businesses to co-operate with this initiative.”
Anyone caught dropping cigarette litter can be issued with a £50 fixed penalty notice which must be paid within 14 days with any unpaid fines will be reported to the Procurator Fiscal.
Derek Robertson, Chief Executive of Scotland’s leading charity for the environment, Keep Scotland Beautiful, said: “Our most recent survey results for 2011-12 show that over three quarters of all sites surveyed in town centres across Highland were blighted with smoking-related litter, usually cigarette ends. This is an increase from the previous year, when just over two thirds of sites were affected. Keep Scotland Beautiful believes there is a lack of understanding from many who smoke that their cigarette end constitutes litter if dropped on the ground, and that if disposed of incorrectly it has an environmental impact years beyond the time it takes to smoke it. We are therefore very pleased to support The Highland Council’s cigarette litter campaign, and congratulate the Council for taking action to raise awareness of this issue.”