We all know that smoking is terrible for your health – and if that wasn’t a good enough reason to kick the habit, those caught irresponsibly dropping cigarette butts face an on-the-spot fine of at least £80.
Ealing Council is calling on residents and commuters to take responsibility for their cigarette by ensuring they are stubbed out and binned properly.
Dropped cigarette butts are the most common form of littering in the UK and remain an unsightly and dirty problem on Ealing’s streets. That’s why the council is backing #BinTheButt, a campaign launched by Keep Britain Tidy calling on smokers across the UK to rethink how they dispose of their cigarettes.
In a recent survey by Keep Britain Tidy almost 40% of smokers admitted to having thrown a cigarette butt down a drain within the past month, and one in ten do not even consider their cigarette butts to be litter.
Chucking a cigarette on the floor is not just unpleasant – it’s seriously bad for the environment as well. Filters are made up of thousands of chemical ingredients, including microplastics, arsenic, lead and nicotine, all of which can leak into marine environments. In fact, studies have shown that just one cigarette butt per litre of water is highly toxic to fish.
Dropping any form of litter is illegal, whether it’s a cigarette, can, wrapper, tissue or piece of food. Those caught by the council’s enforcement teams will be fined. Spitting or urinating on the street is also punishable by the same penalty.
The council issued more than 600 fixed penalty notices (FPNs) to people caught littering the borough’s streets last year. In the last three months alone, it has successfully prosecuted 84 individuals after they failed to pay the initial FPN.
Councillor Mik Sabiers, cabinet member for environment and highways said: “Cigarette butts represent the most common type of litter dropped on the nation’s streets. We are tackling the problem head on here in Ealing with our officers stopping and fining individuals seen littering and dropping their butts on the floor.
“Discarding butts in this way is unsightly for everyone and really bad for the environment. I urge local people to stub out their cigarette completely and make sure they put it into the bin or pocket ashtray instead of the floor.
“Remember, a simple fine for littering can escalate into a criminal record and a fine of hundreds of pounds. It’s much easier to simply put your rubbish and cigarette butts in the bin in the first place.”
Keep up to date with the latest littering prosecutions in the borough.
Stoptober may be over for another year, but there is always support for local people to quit smoking thanks to the NHS.
Find out more about Keep Britain Tidy and the #BinTheButt campaign.