Rubbish Walks founder Jason clears up an amazing million cigarette butts
- Credit: Jason Alexander
Litter campaigner Jason Alexander has cleared up his millionth cigarette butt... and counting.
The dedicated Rubbish Walks founder has vowed to carry on his mission and raise awareness of the health and environmental hazards caused by discarded cigarette ends.
"About 95% of the butts were on the streets of Ipswich, but I also picked up some in other areas such as Felixstowe and Woodbridge," he said.
Mr Alexander said the idea of collecting a million butts began more than three years ago.
"I did a beach clean marathon along the coast from Lowestoft and Felixstowe and picked up lots of litter of all kinds.
"I saw that cigarette ends were everywhere I went, and decided to do something to highlight the issue."
The Blitz the Butt campaign began in August 2018, and Mr Alexander has kept going ever since - using his daily exercise to litter pick near home during Covid lockdowns.
- 1 A14 reopens near Ipswich after four-vehicle crash
- 2 'He was a really good man' - Neighbour's shock following Ipswich house fire
- 3 Person dies in Ipswich house fire
- 4 Former nightclub with flat conversion plan heads to auction
- 5 Ipswich drug dealer sentenced to two years in jail
- 6 Boris Johnson tells people to work from home as covid 'Plan B' confirmed
- 7 Mental health referral review after death of 'wonderful' 16-year-old boy
- 8 'I don't want families going through this' - Mum backs bridge campaign
- 9 'Emotions are high' - McGreal on ugly scenes following Charlton loss
- 10 Company requests £1.8m loan to finish Broomhill Lido project
"I picked up the millionth butt somewhere in Ipswich town centre," he said, adding he was keen to meet the milestone ahead of the forthcoming UN Climate Change Conference.
Mr Alexander stressed that he is not campaigning against people smoking, but against illegal littering.
"People don't always realise this, but butts are litter, and every single butt that is thrown on the street could mean an £80 fine.
"So the million butts could mean £80million of fines from the streets of Ipswich and Suffolk."
Mr Alexander is known as "Wildlife Gadget Man" after designing award winning wildlife camera systems for individuals, schools, conservation organisations and TV.
He said cigarette butts are the "most common form of litter on the planet", with trillions dropped every year.
They are also toxic and a major cause of plastic pollution. "One of my major concerns is the single-use plastic in butts," he said.
He added another concern, especially during the pandemic, is contamination, since cigarettes have been in people's hands and mouths.
Mr Alexander always takes precautions when picking up litter, including wearing gloves and using litter pickers.
He counted the first 330,000 butts individually, but then found the counting was taking too long, as well as the butts being smelly to handle.
So he worked out how many butts fit into other common forms of litter such as cans, bottles and crisp packets, to make it easier to count the number collected.
It has been possible to recycle some butts, but most have had to go into the incinerator, due to issues such as them becoming damp and mouldy.
However, he has kept 250,000 butts to use as illustrations in talks and help to raise awareness.
Mr Alexander has been involved in setting up many litter-picking groups around Ipswich.
He is also currently taking part in the 100 Miles in October for Mind challenge, but putting his own spin on it by carrying out a 100-mile litter pick for Suffolk Mind during the month.
For more information on the Blitz on Butts and how to help, visit the Rubbish Walks website.