Anti plastic campaigners collected 142,000 cigarette butts from streets across the Netherlands this weekend to highlight the contribution they make to plastic pollution.
At the same time, the campaigners called on the government to ban cigarette butts that contain plastic and other harmful chemicals, and to encourage the tobacco industry to take responsibility for preventing cigarette-related litter.
Pick-ups were organised in18 different cities. In Amsterdam 70 volunteers took part and picked up 56,000 cigarette butts over the course of the afternoon
‘Cigarette butts are hardly ever talked about in the discussion around plastic pollution, even though this is one of the most common forms,’ says Karl Beerenfenger from By the Ocean we Unite, one of the initiators of the PlasticPeukMeuk collective.
‘Communication campaigns do not solve the issue. We must change the product itself. Cigarette filters only serve as a marketing tool to sell more cigarettes. We want to get rid of the plastic cigarette filter altogether,’ Beerenfenger said.
Article 8 of the European Single Use Plastics Directive (SUPD) specifies that tobacco producers are required to pay for ridding the streets of cigarette butts containing plastic filters, and the campaigners want the government to set a target of a 70% reduction in cigarette end pollution by 2023.
‘We are asking the Dutch government to monitor the number of cigarettes, and to ensure a fixed price per butt, to make sure that the producers are motivated to take action,’ said Rob Buurman, director of Recycling Netwerk Benelux.
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