Volunteers collect 25,000 cigarette butts in Ipswich town centre at Blitz the Butt Day launch
PUBLISHED: 18:05 27 May 2019 | UPDATED: 18:05 27 May 2019
Volunteers spent their bank holiday morning collecting up thousands of cigarette butts in Ipswich town centre - to launch Blitz the Butt Day, which will take place in August.
Organiser Jason Alexander, from Ipswich, who runs the voluntary group Rubbish Walks, is on a mission to collect a million cigarette butts. His aim is to raise awareness of the dangers of discarded cigarette ends.
He said: "Twelve wonderful volunteers collected around 25,000 cigarette butts in just two hours, just around the town centre, but we only scratched the surface. I have now collected over 190,000 in total."
Monday's event marked the launch of National Blitz the Butt Day, which will be held on August 24, to raise awareness of the problem.
Mr Alexander said: "It was going to be National Blitz the Butt Day, but it might actually end up being International Blitz the Butt Day, because we have had interest from people in other countries."
Some of those taking part were from the Ipswich Wombles, a group set up by Rubbish Walks. Debbie Bartlett from Litter-Free Felixstowe also took part, as well as several members of Cake And Revolution WI and other supporters of Rubbish Walks.
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"Most people don't think of cigarette butts as litter," Jason said. "They don't realise that they contain plastic - but they do. The plastic they contain is cellulose acetate."
He added that cigarette butts are also filled with toxic chemicals, and post a danger to both humans and the environment.
"Cigarette butts are one of the biggest plastic pollutants on the planet, with more than 4.5 trillion finding their way into the environment every year," he said.
All cigarette butts collected are being sent to Terracycle to be recycled, and will be turned into items such as plastic park benches.
Mr Alexander, who is also known as Wildlife Gadget Man, recently revealed that he had found a "soul-destroying" 6,000 cigarette butts in just two hours near to Ipswich Hospital. The majority were found on a path between Ipswich Hospital and Copleston High School.
In March, Mr Alexander received a Points of Light Award from prime minister Theresa May for his litter-picking efforts.
He launched a Beach Clean Marathon last summer and holds regular weekly beach cleans on the shorelines around Bawdsey and Felixstowe, which has included clearing up more than 100,000 cigarette butts.
To find out more about Rubbish Walks, visit the website.