TTwo thousand cigarette butts.
That's how many are collected from Manly Cove every week by local cleanup group Bommie Australia. That's 10,000 a month! Organiser Jude Furniss said it takes the group just one hour to collect the rubbish.
"It's an absolute disgrace," said Good For Manly president and former Manly Councillor Candy Bingham. "Congratulations to local groups who are working to fix the problem. But it should not be up to them to be responsible for Manly's rubbish collection."
Smoking has been banned from Northern Beaches beaches for years, with Manly the first council to introduce a ban in 2004. But a spokesperson for the newly formed Northern Beaches Council said not a single fine had been issued in that time.
Bommie Australia founder Jude Furniss said the council needed to do more to enforce no smoking areas, but the real solution was for smokers to stop throwing their butts on the ground in the first place.
As well as organising beach cleanup days, Bommie Australia works to educate the community about the toxic effect of cigarette debris on our environment.
Butts ends make an area look ugly and unloved, which often "permits" people to trash it even more.
And when butts end up in the water - either because they were dropped directly on the beach or washed down through the stormwater system - they leach a toxic mix of chemicals, including cadmium, arsenic and lead, into our precious aquatic environmemt.
As well the butts. which can survive in seawater for up to 5 years before breaking down, can be swallowed by marine life, including Little Penguins, with deadly consequences.
"I am disgusted and stunned by people’s blatant littering and disregard for our beautiful surroundings," Ms Furniss said.
"I'm asking smokers to clean up their act and take pride in where they live, work and play."
Good for Manly says it's time for Council to take more serious action. Provide reciprocals for butts in popular areas, fine people who litter and encourage create marketing ideas to get the message across that there is no excuse - bin your butts!
Candy Bingham, Deputy Mayor, Northern Beaches Council. Background in marketing, public relations & community engagement. Author of five business books. Former Lady Mayoress of Sydney. Aka Candy Tymson.