The campaign aims to increase awareness that cigarette filters are the biggest plastic polluters – they do not readily biodegrade and can persist in the environment for up to 15 years. A recent Keep Britain Tidy survey found cigarette-related litter present at 79 per cent of surveyed sites.
Cigarette filters contain toxins and heavy metals that, if littered onto the ground and end up down street drains, can travel into rivers and the sea and leach toxic chemicals into water sources. One study found that a single cigarette butt can contaminate seven litres of water in just one hour.
Cigarette butts can harm both terrestrial and marine animals that mistake the butts as food. Toxins released from ingested butts can be dangerous, whilst the butts themselves and other ingested pieces of plastic pollution can also accumulate also causing blockages, internal damage and ultimately death.
The campaign is to be launched in Wimborne and Swanage with artwork displayed in bus shelters and pubs. Free stubby packs will also be available from participating pubs and venues for smokers to use to store their cigarette butts in until they are able to dispose of them responsibly.
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