Ipswich's 'mountain of shame' - 7,000 cigarette butts collected along Waterfront
PUBLISHED: 17:13 08 August 2019 | UPDATED: 10:04 09 August 2019
They litter the streets, clog up rivers and leak chemicals into the soil...and now one Ipswich man has called on this "mountain of shame" to be stopped - no ifs, no butts.
Jason Alexander, also known as the Wildlife Gadget Man, began his crusade to tackle the menace of cigarette ends after discovering the sheer number on our streets.
In the last eight months, he has collected more than 250,000 cigarette butts from the town's roads in what he calls a "mountain of shame".
Astonishingly, more than 7,000 of them were collected in one afternoon along Ipswich Waterfront and Russell Road - home to Ipswich Borough and Suffolk County councils.
Mr Alexander said: "It is an ongoing battle and I'm really starting to ramp things up. Cigarette butts are the most common form of litter on the planet and most people tend to just ignore it. It is disgusting.
"It is probably close to 7,500 I collected on Saturday (August 3) and I expected to find that many, to be honest.
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"If I didn't do it, they'd probably still be there. Just imagine it - there are an estimated 4.5trillion littered every year in the world. I don't want Ipswich to play a part in that."
The cigarette butts, which vary in shape and size, contain plastic fibres called cellulose acetate, as well as various harmful chemicals.
In an attempt to counter the amount littered, Mr Alexander has launched two new initiatives which he hopes will be applied internationally.
To encourage the butts to be recycled - currently only available via US-based company Terracycle - his new venture of "charity butt bins" aims to raise money for charity by placing bins in public places and outside large businesses.
He added: "I've probably had more than 100 requests from businesses and charities since making a couple of posts on social media.
"This isn't about demonising smokers, it is about encouraging smokers to do the right thing.
"Smokers are inherently good people, this is just my way of encouraging them to put their waste in the bin and help great local charities."
His second initiative, Blitz the Butt Day, aims to see 1million butts collected nationwide on August 24.