Maitland City Council is cracking down on careless smokers who irresponsibly discard cigarette butts.
Council has announced a number of fines smokers could face if they are careless with the disposal of their ciggies. During June, council is giving away personal ashtrays in an effort to reduce litter from cigarette butts, which is one of the major litter items in the Maitland local government area.
Council’s development and environment manager David Simm said the presence of litter, especially cigarette butts, in local shopping precincts, along footpaths and in local waterways is extremely unpleasant. It is hoped this incentive will decrease the number of cigarette butts dropped on the ground, he said.
Littering is not just unsightly but it creates pollution, which is harmful to the environment, animals and human health. Council’s regulatory officers have the ability to issue on the spot fines for offences relating to littering of cigarette butts. This includes:
- $60 fine for dropping an unlit or extinguished cigarette butt
- $200 fine for dropping a lit cigarette butt, which does not threaten public safety
- $200 fine for littering any cigarette related item from a motor vehicle
- $375 fine for aggravated littering that threatens public safety or the environment, such as depositing lit cigarette butts during the fire season
“Personal ashtrays are an easy and discreet way to safely carry cigarette butts until a garbage bin can be located to dispose of them,” Mr Simm said.
The personal ashtrays which will be available until the end of June can be collected from council’s administration building or at the Maitland Visitor Information Centre during operating hours.
Fairfax Media recently reported that Central Maitland was smouldering in a filthy haze of cigarette smoke as irresponsible workers discard their butts on city streets, footpaths and gardens. The tens of thousands of butts were not only littering the ground, they also sparked fires in garden beds causing offices to be evacuated.