An estimated 5,6 trillion butts are discarded worldwide every year.
Since 2009 cigarette butts have consistently been the number one item collected at butt ‘hot spots’ in Hermanus such as lookout points, viewing benches along the coast, outside restaurants and in plant boxes in Hermanus,
Eleven hotspot areas in Hermanus, covering 602m², were monitored for two months.
Total butts collected was 22 736.
Estimated cigarette butts discarded annually in the Hermanus CBD is 28 580 629 butts (equivalent to 14,3 ton) in an area of 0,25 km²
Cigarette butts are made of cellulose acetate which is a plastic slow to degrade.
The filters are designed to absorb gases and accumulate particulate smoke matter.
Cigarette butts are a toxic waste item.
Tobacco contains nicotine and tar but there are also potentially 1 400 additives that are mixed with the tobacco during manufacture – 50 of these additives are carcinogenic.
Toxins in the butts leach into the environment, particularly in water.
This causes wetland, river and marine ecosystem pollution which enters marine food chains and accumulates along the tropic levels.
Eight Whale Coast Conservation butt bottles were installed in the Hermanus CBD.
BUT butt bottles were taken and vandalised, making the monitoring data unreliable.
Preliminary indications are that smokers have responded positively, making use of the receptacles.
The improved butt bin is more secure and is made of a more durable plastic.
Bins installed in the CBD area during 2016 will be further monitored.