Department of youth: Campaign to bin cigarette butts

WHEN environmentally conscience students at Bundaberg’s St Joseph’s were cleaning rubbish, they notice a large amount of cigarette butts on the ground.

They were worried about the damage to local reefs and marine life, so decided to create awareness signs warning smokers to properly dispose of their cigarette butts. They held a competition among students for the best designs through the support of the Burnett Local Marine Advisory Committee (LMAC) and Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers.

A poster designed by student Charlotte Johnson.
A poster designed by student Charlotte Johnson.

Year 6 student Maddison Wesche said the school’s environment group looked for designs of how cigarette butts hurt the reef. She said reefs were an important source of oxygen.

“They (cigarettes) harm people, and also, like earth, because they go to the reef. It doesn’t look nice when they are left around town,” Maddison said.

LMAC chairwoman Sue Sargent said the students’ idea was “perfect timing” as it had been looking for a project to protect the reef.

Student Liliana Brillante’s campaign poster.
Student Liliana Brillante’s campaign poster.

Ms Sargent said students learned fixing an issue like cigarette butts was complicated as the designs had to protected from weather and vandals.

The signs were intended to be part of disposal bins, but these were not able to be displayed in areas people could not smoke. The signs could be displayed in these areas.

“The signs could be placed anywhere so ideally they can be placed where they increase awareness for a smoker who might be thinking about flicking that butt,” Ms Sargent said.

“If your Grade 3 and Grade 5 students are thinking about this issue, then maybe you should be thinking about that as well.”


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