• EPA Tasmania
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Small is not necessarily beautiful

With tougher new litter laws proposed for Tasmania, one nasty little item will be in the firing line.

Cigarette butts continue to account for almost half (47 per cent) of the total number of litter items counted in Tasmania with an average of almost one in three cigarette butts ending up as litter.

Being small items, cigarette butts easily make their way into gutters and the stormwater system where they can affect water quality. They often avoid being trapped by conventional stormwater drains and litter traps and as a result make their way into creeks, rivers and the sea.

Cigarette butts have been found in the stomachs of fish, whales and other marine animals who mistake them for food. This leads to ingestion of hazardous chemicals and digestive blockages.

It can take up to three years for a cigarette butt to break down in sea water. However within an hour of contact with water, a cigarette butt begins to leach hazardous chemicals, including cadmium, lead and zinc into the environment.

Under tougher litter laws to be introduced in Tasmania this year, littering a cigarette butt will carry a fine of .

Cigarette butts are litter and need to be disposed of responsibly. Smokers are urged to butt out cigarettes and put them in the bin even if it requires an extra 10-metre walk. Alternatively smokers can carry a personal /pocket ashtray. These ensure there is always a "bin" for butts!

Staff wanting a personal ashtray may contact Litter Program Coordinator Annie Beecroft on x7046.

What am I ?
I am small but not beautiful
I am elusive
I am a sea farer
I decompose slowly
My impacts are both immediate and hazardous
I am illegal

Answer - a littered cigarette butt