Butts are our most lit­tered item

Central Leader - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - SHANI WIL­LIAMS

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.

KOREN ALLPRESS/STUFF

Ci­garette butts are New Zealand’s most lit­tered item.

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