Blatant Buttheads

Blatant ButtheadsSource: TKK

As I wander this country, from it’s vast remoteness to the ever sprawling developed areas, the inescapable evidence of Human’s impact never ceases to amaze me.  Some of the things I see are, supposedly, ‘necessary’ for the survival of the species, such as the infrastructure, some things not so.

One thing that is definitely not necessary is trash.  For this post I am not writing about matter that is properly disposed of. I’m referring to what is generally termed as litter.

Litter comes from two sources, one being poorly designed receptacles allowing the trash to escape, the other being poorly designed Human’s intentionally discarding their trash wherever and whenever they feel.

The biggest and most blatant offenders in this latter category is the smoker.

Of all litter, the most ubiquitous form is the cigarette butt. Dropped wherever the smoker stands or, by the ones seemingly embarrassed by what they are about to do, flicked into the nearest garden bed or bush.

From personal experience; during a recent 6 km hike around the beautiful Dove Lake in the shadow of Cradle Mountain  I was enthralled by the natural beauty encompassing me.

At every view point along the hike there is amazing scenery to be enjoyed by man and beast alike. Wildlife is also abundant for those that care to look and listen.

Unfortunately, as with most things that involve Humans, there was one huge blight on the whole experience – Cigarette butts were to be seen everywhere.

The Parks & Wildlife Service of Tasmania have well placed signs indicating the Leave Nothing, Take Nothing approach for people visiting the area. This works well for the usual drink containers, chip and lolly packets etc.

Cigarette smokers, however, deem themselves above this policy.

It is estimated that 4.5 trillion butts are littered worldwide each year.  Whether this figure is high or low is irrelevant as just one butt in the environment is too many.

Over the years there have been numerous campaigns that I can remember, even as a kid, telling smokers that they need to be responsible. That’s a period of at least 30 years.

They simply do not get the message.

Want evidence of this occurring? Want evidence of the harm it causes? Take some time to check out the following links.

It is time for a whole new approach.

I propose the following:

  1. The immediate increase in on the spot fines for the incorrect disposal of cigarette butts.
  2. A compulsory training session for repeat offenders.
  3. For chronic offenders a community service sentence – out on patrol picking up cigarette butts.
  4. A freecall number to dob in a smoker who offends.
  5. and finally, probably the one that will get the most attention, is the imposition of an environmental levy of $5.00 per packet of cigarettes. This levy to be passed on entirely to environmental campaigns aimed at protecting the earth.

Sounds harsh? Poor smoker cannot possibly afford it? I DON’T CARE. Smokers have been getting away with this for far too long and must be held accountable for their actions.