Butts are our most littered item
Auckland Council receives more than one littering complaint a day, with cigarette butts being the city’s most littered item.
In the last 12 months littering was reported 550 times with cigarette butts accounting for more than a quarter of complaints.
Of the 550 complaints Auckland Council only 34 resulted in fines - with 29 of these for cigarette butts.
Other commonly reported items were takeaway containers, furniture and bags of rubbish.
People littering items less than one liter in weight, such as cigarette butts, can face a $100 fine.
But reporting an incident doesn’t necessarily lead to finding the offender, Waste Solutions general manager Ian Stupple said.
Cigarette butts are often littered from moving vehicles, making offenders difficult to track down, he said.
Keep New Zealand Beautiful (KNZB) general manager Jodie Stuart said in New Zealand more than 6 million cigarette butts were discarded into the environment each year.
Stuart said since changes to the Smokefree Environment Act banned indoor smoking there had been a significant jump in cigarette butt litter.
Stuart said Auckland needed to adopt a sustainable reduction plan.
‘‘Cigarette butts end up in our waterways and enter the food chains of fish, birds and other marine life.’’
Members of social networking website Neighbourly were divided as to whether cigarette butt litter was an ‘‘issue’’.
Peter Mumby from Kohimarama said cigarette butt waste litter was a significant issue and council should install cigarette butt bins on all footpaths and private establishments should have smoke bins.
‘‘We don’t want wildlife coming into contact with cigarette butts, but there are not many options for smokers to dispose their butts,’’ he said.
Susan Williams from Saint Heliers said it was interesting how some smokers who would never litter other rubbish, drop cigarette butts.
Janice O’Neill from Saint Johns said the issue was trivial and New Zealand would never be cigarette butt free.
‘‘Cigarette butt littering has been going on for centuries. What do you propose to do? Pick them all up? That’sunrealistic,’’ she said.
Cigarette butts are New Zealand’s most littered item.