Keep Australia Beautiful calls for a Butt Free Friday

QUEENSLANDERS are Australia's worst litterbugs, with Tasmania and NSW taking out silver and bronze.

These are not titles any state wants and it is their cigarette smokers who are the worst culprits.

Cigarette butts have again topped the list of the most commonly littered items and Keep Australia Beautiful is calling for a national Butt Free Friday this week in response.

On the 2013-14 litter scoreboard, the number of items collected in Queensland rose from 68 to 72 items per 1000sqm while NSW dropped from 61 to 57.

Tasmanians need hosing down most on the cigarette butt front with 45, down from 52 the year before, collected per 1000sqm with Queensland next at 33 and NSW coming in fifth at 20.

KAB chief Peter McLean said it was time for smokers to pick up their act, particularly on Friday.

"We're urging smokers to make a conscious effort to 'Butt It and Bin It', instead of taking the lazy option of flicking their butts onto the ground," he said.

"A staggering 20 million cigarette butts are flicked onto the ground every day in Australia, which equates to around 7 billion per year.

"Cigarette butts continue to be the biggest feature in the index, accounting for almost 50% of the total number of items per 1000m2."

Mr McLean said that it wasn't just the sheer quantity of butts that was the problem but also the damage they could potentially cause.

"Cigarette butts contain toxic chemicals including arsenic, cadmium and toluene," he said.

"They're plastic and aren't biodegradable which means they can take up to 10 years to break down.

"They pollute our waterways, our parks, our streets and our beaches, and are a danger to our wildlife."

- APN NEWSDESK


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