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Docklands is free of 15,000 cigarette butts!

26 Feb 2020

Docklands is free of 15,000 cigarette butts! Image

By Dr Janette Corcoran 

On a sunny Sunday in February, over 60 Docklanders gathered outside Off With The Ferries Café.

Grabbing their preferred cleaning equipment, Love Our Street Docklands - LOS3008 - proceeded to clear Docklands streets of 228 containers, 14kg of general rubbish and a staggering 15,000-plus cigarette butts!

Joining the group was new resident, Lord Mayor Sally Capp, who demonstrated her deep dislike of the discarded cigarette butt by removing a few hundred from a nearby popular smoking spot.

But while the efforts of our volunteers are commendable and such activities are definitely raising awareness among residents, it is unfortunately the case that butts quickly reappear on our streets when the Monday to Friday workers return.

The real challenge then is to raise the awareness of these workers, along with the businesses which employ them.

And it would likely come as a nasty surprise to these butt-droppers that individually they could be fined over $300 for dropping an extinguished butt, increasing to over $600 for dropping a lit cigarette.

Businesses too might be shocked to learn that they also have a legal responsibility. According to City of Melbourne’s website, every business must manage the litter they generate. This includes collecting, storing and disposing of the cigarette butts littered by staff, customers, clients and visitors to the business – even if they are dropped outside the property boundary. And penalties of up to $500 apply to businesses who fail to comply with these requirements and, under the Environment Protection Act, penalties of more than $6000 can apply for incorrect disposal of a cigarette butt.

Where to start?

If you are a customer of a business whose staff litter, please say something to the responsible manager. The next step is to report these activities to the City of Melbourne, online at services.melbourne.vic.gov.au/report/cleanpublicspace

Meanwhile, LOS3008 will work with City of Melbourne to directly engage with Dockland businesses, while also continuing to build our hands-on activities.

And the next LOS3008 clean-up is scheduled for Sunday, March 22, meeting at 10.50am at Docklands Community Garden, Geographe St, Docklands.

 

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