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Move to fine smokers who drop their cigarette butts

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TALKS have taken place about fining smokers for dropping cigarette butts, and a new publicity campaign is imminent.

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A freedom of information request has shown that no fines have been handed out in a decade to people dropping cigarette butts. Last week a new smoking profile report revealed that the number of smokers in the Island has continued to drop, but the issues around cigarette litter, especially in St Helier, remain.

St Helier Constable Simon Crowcroft is launching a campaign aimed at stopping people dropping their butts down drains, which lead directly into the sea. Dropping any type of litter is an offence under the Policy of Roads Regulations 1959 and anyone caught doing so can be fined.

The campaign could include putting signs around drains, and Mr Crowcroft, who has tried on numerous occasions to clamp down on litter from smoking in the past, has again called for heavy fines to be handed out to act as a deterrent to would-be litterers.

He has recently met new police chief Robin Smith, who he says wants to tackle the problem.

The Constable said: ‘We have our new campaign rolling out imminently and I have met the new police chief and called for the States police to take a lead on this.

‘They are the ones who enforce the law and the new chief has been sympathetic about the issue, and what we want to see is something co-ordinated with the States police and for them to hand out a few heavy fines.

‘A few fines and it will act as a message on this subject.

‘By having this litter around it can be seen as a lack of civic pride and will lead to people not obeying the bigger laws.

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‘People saying there is a lack of bins is a poor excuse. If you had a banana skin and there was no bin you wouldn’t just drop it – you would keep it until you found one.’

A spokesman for the States police said: ‘We will intervene when we witness cases of littering and deal with it in a way that is appropriate to that situation.’

Cigarettes thrown down drains end up in the sea, polluting it with toxins and plastic, which is having a drastic impact on marine life.

A study by Keep Britain Tidy showed that just one butt per litre of water was highly toxic to fish, and the butts made from cellulose acetate are a bigger contaminant of the world’s rivers and oceans than straws, cotton buds and drink stirrers.

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Environmentalist Sheena Brockie, who is a former Pride of Jersey winner in the Environmentalist of the Year category, said she will be taking part on a cigarette litter pick in the coming weeks.

She added: ‘I have seen smokers looking around for somewhere to put their cigarette and thinking they have found a brilliant place in a drain.

‘There are 15,000 toxins in them and that goes straight into the ocean and is having a big impact. It is just lazy.

‘I welcome the move from the parish. It is something I took it upon myself to do in the past. I saw three people put them down a drain in ten minutes, so I went and got some chalk and wrote around the drain “no butts” and “straight to the ocean”.’

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