Seven billion cigarette butts litter Australia annually and their eradication will be the target of Clean Up Australia Day this year.
State Environment Minister Judy Edwards said the annual clean-up event, to be held on Sunday, March 6, would focus attention on the significant dangers of cigarette butts to the environment.
“Clean Up Australia says that cigarette butts are the most commonly found rubbish item in the nation - and the number is increasing every year,” Dr Edwards said.
“They contain a cocktail of harmful chemicals including carbon monoxide - a poisonous gas found in car exhausts, hydrogen cyanide, pesticides, butane - used in lighter fluid, and arsenic, just to name a few.
“They have a big impact on the environment, most noticeably with bushfires spread from butts thrown from car windows, but they also harm wildlife, pollute our beautiful rivers, wetlands and oceans, and leach chemicals into soils.”
The Minister said the State Government took a tough stand on smoking and had progressively introduced a range of smoking restrictions - targeting indoor areas in offices, pubs and clubs.
“Smokers must take more responsibility and with more people moving outside to smoke, it is vital that cigarette butts are disposed of safely and properly,” she said.
“The community is far less tolerant of thoughtless littering and smokers found littering can be fined up to $75 as a part of the Litter Report Scheme.”
Dr Edwards said thousands of Western Australians were expected to join in this year’s Clean Up Australia Day push to remove litter and cigarette butts.
“I applaud the many individuals, families and groups who each year volunteer their time on Clean Up Australia Day - their contribution really does make a difference to community attitudes and to the greater protection of the environment,” she said.
Minister's office: 9220 5050