Cigarette butts accounted for 37% of litter items removed from City of Port Phillip beaches on Clean Up Australia Day 2011. In search of a positive solution, Baykeeper has teamed with Ormond College (Melbourne Uni) students and the City of Port Phillip’s Community Pulse program to better understand where and why butts are dropped.
During August and September local volunteers and Melbourne University Ormond College students collected and recorded the location of cigarette butts found in a 500m section Blessington Street St Kilda and a 200m section of St Kilda South beach.
A total of 19,453 butts were found in 5 surveys. The impact of rainfall was dramatically demonstrated on Grand Final day when 8,283 butts were found on the beach after several days of rain. Only 1,194 butts had been found on the beach in the previous 4 surveys when there had been little rainfall.
Recording where butts are found has enabled butt ‘hotspots’ to be identified as a basis for practical solutions to reduce the problem. So far, the surveys show that while some shops in footpath trading areas regularly have the highest counts, serious numbers of butts have also been found in residential areas.
Baykeeper is keen to hear from residents, traders, and smokers with positive ideas to improve stormwater quality and reduce this ongoing source of pollution to the Bay.