Mapping cigarette butt litter

Complaints about cigarette butts in the streets and on beaches in Port Douglas led Tangaroa Blue and the Douglas Shire Council to host a litter source reduction plan workshop in December 2017.

A plan was mapped out, with the first step to understand exactly where the cigarette butt litter hotspots were.

Once a month for three months Tangaroa Blue team members, Douglas Shire Council representatives and local volunteers assisted in a baseline data collection action.

Before the council street sweepers cleaned Macrossan Street, which is the main street in Port Douglas, a survey was conducted logging in Tangaroa Blue’s CyberTracker data logger all cigarette butts found along the footpath, gutter and garden beds. Infrastructure was also logged to show the relationship between seats, bins, bus stops, drains, tables, public phones, toilets and pedestrian crossings with the cigarette butt litter.

You can check out the map from January’s audit here

Everyone’s thoughts prior to the survey was that the problem areas would be around the pubs along the main street. This was actually not the case, with more cigarette butts found around the garden beds, particularly those that had chairs next to them.

The next step in this Source Reduction Plan is now to survey people interacting this those hotspot areas to see what type of people are using the bins in the area, and what type of people aren’t, then we can start planning how to engage these groups in a behaviour change project.

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