7000 butts gone from beach

A SWAG of volunteers donned their gloves and hats on Sunday morning and collected more than 7000 cigarette butts in Airlie Beach as part of the weekend launch of the local campaign called “No Butts on our Beach”.

Three of the 28 volunteers on the day were passers-by who stopped to commend the volunteers then joined in their efforts.

Seven youngsters less than 14 years of age also gave a helping hand.

The butt pick-up saw a total of 7378 cigarette butts collected in just three hours.

A couple of dedicated volunteers counted and catalogued the butts and other rubbish for their record.

Almost 3000 items of rubbish was collected, including 278 pieces of broken glass, 163 straws and 92 cable ties.

Volunteers were surprise that numbers were so high.

Volunteer Ben Ware said he was shocked at the large collection.

“I came along thinking the beach clean-up might not be worthwhile – the beach looked relatively clean,” he said.

Campaign organiser Suzy Gordon said she had expected to cover a lot more ground than she actually did.

“I had expected we'd have enough time to pick up the butts from the paths and grass fronting the beach and along the Esplanade as well as from the beach itself but there were easily enough on the beach alone to keep us busy the whole morning”, she said.

Ms Gordon said many of the butts had clearly been in the sand for some time, and others had been washed up from the sea by the tides.

“Every butt we pick up is one less hazard posed to the life of a fish or turtle who will swallow it thinking its food”, she said.

Ms Gordon hoped to talk to Council about bringing butt bins onto the beaches and main street.

She said she wanted to work with the community and business owners to stop butts getting into the waterways and has a realistic and achievable vision of a town with no butts that could potentially end up in the ocean.

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