NO BUTTS: 1589 cigarettes were collected from Gladstone CBD drains in the drain buddies.
NO BUTTS: 1589 cigarettes were collected from Gladstone CBD drains in the drain buddies.

Audit uncovers big butt issue in Gladstone

CIGARETTE butts in Gladstone’s drains have almost doubled over the past three months, an audit has found.

The second audit of the 27 Drain Buddies across Rockhampton, Yeppoon and Gladstone revealed that among the almost 200 kilograms of marine debris was a combined 4668 cigarette butts, leading the tally for the most prominent form of litter, for the second time across all locations.

In September this year, 1589 cigarettes were recovered from the Drain Buddy baskets in Gladstone.

In December, over a same 12-week time period, the number had risen to 3021.

The Drain Buddies were installed in June and are heavy-duty baskets designed to collect matter that would normally wash down into the waterways.

At every audit of the baskets, new insight is uncovered into the litter discarded by the community and the most common areas people were littering.

Fitzroy Basin Association Inc Community Partnerships officer Lisa Del Riccio said it was puzzling why the number of cigarettes had doubled in Gladstone in the tail end of the year.

“A common misperception exists that cigarettes can break down,” she said.

“In fact, all cigarettes with filters are lined with plastic and are non-biodegradable.

“They do not disappear, and when they’re thrown in the gutter – they’re headed straight for Gladstone Harbour, and the Great Barrier Reef.”

The Gladstone Drain Buddy working group.
The Gladstone Drain Buddy working group.

The Drain Buddies were introduced as part of a Local Action Community Reef Protection grant, funded by the partnership between the Government’s Reef Trust and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, delivered by FBA, with support from the Capricorn Coast and Gladstone Local Marine Advisory Committees.

Behaviour change strategies are being employed across Gladstone to address particular types of litter at their source.

What we are littering:

  • Foil wrapper 141
  • Paper remnants 468
  • Broken glass pieces 315
  • Cigarettes 3021
  • Confectionary packs 86
  • Cigarette packaging 77
  • Plastic remnants 226
  • Plastic (hard/solid) 144


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