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It’s Flicking Blue Murder…….

Keep Britain tidy as launched a new national campaign – #BinTheButt – to stamp out cigarette litter, which causes significant damage to marine life.

Theycalling on smokers across the UK to rethink how they dispose of their cigarettes, as research* reveals that only half (53%) of Brits think that cigarette butts get washed into the sea if they get dropped, blown or washed down the drain.

Dropped cigarette butts are the most common form of littering, and just under four in ten (39%) smokers – equivalent to 3.6 million in the UK1 – admit to throwing a cigarette butt down a drain within the past month. However, one in ten (11%) do not even consider cigarette butts to be litter.

This research, made possible thanks to support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery, was carried out for Keep Britain Tidy by YouGov.

Only just over a third (38%) of smokers thought that cigarettes contain plastic, yet nearly four out of five (77%) smokers were concerned that the toxins from their cigarettes cause significant harm to marine life. Cigarette filters are comprised of thousands of chemical ingredients, including 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 fish2.

More than a fifth (22%) of Brits thought putting a cigarette down the drain was acceptable, which rose sharply to over half (52%) among smokers who smoke every day.

The research also showed that over a third of daily smokers (33%) thought that cigarette butts that get dropped down the drain were filtered out through the water treatment system, 8% thought they remained in the drains and 10% thought butts were biodegradable.

They are tackling the problem with their  new campaign,  to raise awareness amongst smokers and highlight the link between the cigarette butt they drop on the street or down the drain and the impact it has on the marine environment³.

In 2017, The United Nations Development Programme described throwing cigarette butts on the ground as ‘the last socially acceptable form of littering’ and we are determined to turn the tide and make throwing your butt on the floor as socially unacceptable as ‘lighting up’ in a pub or restaurant.

To support the campaign, they  have partnered with SEA LIFE Manchester to create a dramatic underwater seascape, which brings to life the impact of cigarettes in our oceans. Three one-metre ‘cigarette butt’ sculptures were installed inside one of the aquariums at SEA LIFE Manchester, creating a visual representation of what happens when cigarettes are littered in drains.  See  the website for more information.


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