Yuk -make sure you bin your butts

A giant sign spelling out the word 'yuk' using thousands of used cigarette butts has been installed in Hyde Park to remind smokers of the pollution their discarded butts cause.

Every day the City's cleansing crews sweep up around 15,000 butts from the streets and footpaths. Many thousands more are washed into our harbour and waterways where they do serious environmental damage.

The two by five metre hollow perspex sign in Hyde Park contains a small fraction of the estimated 500,000 butts thrown on city streets, footpaths and gutters every month.

These butts are an eyesore and an environmental hazard. We have a beautiful city and we share a responsibility to keep it clean. There is no excuse for dropping cigarette butts.

Surveys show many smokers think their butts are small and insignificant so it doesn't matter if they drop them on the ground. But discarded butts leach toxic elements such as cadmium, lead and arsenic into water and soil as they decompose.

This campaign is a reminder that people need to take responsibility and dispose of their cigarette butts properly in ashtrays or rubbish bins.

All of the City's 480 rubbish bins in the city centre have ashtrays and the City has given out more than 200 wall-mounted ashtrays for building owners to install where smokers gather.

City Rangers will also begin a 'butt blitz', targeting smoking hotspots around the city warning people about the damage butts can do and reminding them they can be fined for littering. Fines for littering range from $60 for an extinguished butt to $200 for one that is still alight.

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