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Article published July 28. 2010 08:19AM
Cigarette butts are a litter menace, warns Keep Bermuda Beautiful::

By Conor Doyle

Keep Bermuda Beautiful has gone on the offensive this summer against discarded cigarettes, the most commonly littered item on the Island.

Anne Hyde, the charity's acting Executive Director, told Hamilton Rotarians that cigarette butts were an "ugly and harmful" blight on the landscape.

"Although it's one of the smallest pieces of litter, tossing cigarette butts on the ground is creating blight," said Ms Hyde.

"Butts are accumulating outside doorways, along sidewalks and in the gutters. Litter in a city street, and other signs of disorder create a sense that no one cares about the community."

Ms Hyde said the charity conducted a roadside survey last year of 24 locations throughout the Island to determine what item was littered most. Cigarette butts were the most common, comprising a quarter of all littler collected.

She said recent anti-smoking laws as well as a lack of awareness had made the problem worse.

"Individuals who would never litter a soda can, typically don't consider tossing a cigarette onto the ground as littering."

Littered butts are not only unsightly, said Ms Hyde, but also pose a threat to wildlife.

"Littered cigarette butts are easily carried through the drainage system to the ocean. Birds and fish die because they mistake them for food."

The charity has started an initiative to curb cigarette littering, which will urge residents not to make the street their ashtray.

KBB has partnered with organizations such as City of Hamilton and the Chamber of Commerce that typically bear the cost of cigarette litter cleanup. Ms Hyde said she hoped the programme would raise awareness of the problem.

In addition to installing new ash receptacles in Hamilton, the charity has begun to distribute thousands of portable ashtrays – hoping they will catch on with smokers.

"We are doing this to give our children and grandchildren a litter-free future," said Ms Hyde.