Anti-litter campaign aimed at beachgoers

A new anti-litter campaign with a public awareness campaign #UNSMOKE was launched on Saturday, December 7.

“Our beaches are not ashtrays” is the message of a public awareness drive targeting Cape Town beachgoers over the busy festive season.

The campaign is an initiative of tobacco company Philip Morris South Africa (PMSA), and is supported by the City of Cape Town and the Clean C NGO, which runs regular beach-clean-ups along the coastline on the first Saturday of every month.

Cigarette butt litter is a major problem on beaches and a source of ocean pollution. Some smokers discard cigarette butts in the sand. This litter is often carried into the ocean with the tide, where it can be mistaken for food by birds and marine animals, with dire consequences.

“With this initiative, we’re calling on adult smokers to become aware of the environmental impact and change their behaviour. We’re going a step further to provide beach ashtrays to make it easier to dispose of cigarette butts responsibly. Have some fun in the sun this festive season, but remember that our beaches are not ashtrays,” said managing director of PMSA, Marcelo Nico.

Mr Nico was speaking at a media briefing in Camps Bay on Saturday December 7. As part of the initiative, people were invited to join beach clean-ups at Camps Bay and other major beaches including Clifton, Blouberg and Milnerton.

The City’s mayoral committee member for water and waste, Xanthea Limberg, said they were happy to support this programme, especially during a period that sees high numbers of visitors to our beautiful beaches. “Our cleansing teams are on the ground daily, but it can be challenging to keep up with the amount of litter generated throughout the day, particularly in the case of cigarette butts which are relatively small. We encourage all beachgoers to take responsibility for their waste – by working together we can make a big difference,” she said.

Director of Clean C, Greg Player, said their NGO co-ordinates beach clean-ups along the coast every first Saturday of the month under the Cape Town Beach Clean-up banner. “It’s good to see partners like Philip Morris SA coming on board. We encourage the public to get involved in preserving the heritage of our beautiful coastlines,” he said.

The public awareness drive on beaches is the next step in an anti-littering partnership announced by PMSA and local authorities in September. The initial focus on cigarette butt litter in Cape Town’s CBD is steadily being expanded to include the coastline and other locations.