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The war on litter: cigarette butts

April 13, 2016

I’ve long been picking up litter while out and about in public, but I have recently become rather fed up with how many cigarette butts there are out there. It’s down right shocking!

We got a dog last year, so we spend a lot of time walking. Since I poop and scoop anyways, I have also decided to start picking up cigarette butts at the same time. Since that time (just in the last few weeks since the snow melted here in Espoo), I have picked up hundreds of them.


I wonder what smokers would do if they realized just how toxic the effects their littering are. It is purported by several sources that cigarette butts are the most littered item on earth, with some 4.5 TRILLION discarded by people around the world every year.

This is something that has just caught my attention, so it is new topic for me. I’m investigating what the issue is in Finland, whether there are any statistics on cigarette butt pollution and if there are any groups specifically taking aim at it. I’ll try and follow-up when I can. I have to find the right vocabulary to search for information in Finnish. If you can help, let me know!

We should all do our piece. If you see litter and a garbage can nearby, please do the environment a favour and pick it up.

I hope this will be the only time I will “preach” at people. We can do better, really. We’re litterally (spelling mistake intentional) killing ourselves with garbage.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. June 15, 2016 12:25 pm

    Its amazing how different the Northern European cultures can be, especially in the way they respond to the problem of litter on their streets. As a Londoner I increasingly struggle to deal with and tolerate our dirty streets. The problem of fly tipping and dropping rubbish is a serious one in the UK. Here the people drop not only the cigarette butts but the whole skips of junk on streets. You can read more about it on the blog post I recently published:

    I often think that in London the local community, due to its cultural diversity, is unable to form a united response to the problem of fly tipping. On there other hand, the opinions I’ve heard suggest that the native Londoners acted and continue to act indifferently towards the problem of rubbish on their streets and as a result the new comers adopted the rule that what is happening on streets is not something they should care about. Instead it is assumed that its a job of the local authority to deal with dirty streets and this is wrong.

    • June 15, 2016 1:26 pm

      Hi Michael, many thanks for weighing in. I guess I should consider myself lucky, we don’t often see this scale of garbage dumping like you have discussed in your entry. I agree with you, many people do not consider litter clean-up a community issue, they think that municipal authorities should deal with it because that is the way it has always been done. Unfortunately maintenance of parks, playgrounds and public areas is the first thing to go when there are budget cuts, that is also the case here in Espoo. It is up to members of the public to take it into their hands to keep things cleaned up.

  2. June 15, 2016 2:59 pm

    Thanks for your comment.

    I remember when I was a child the people cared more about other peoples behaviour in public places. You would not drop any rubbish on the street because you would be told off not to do so by somebody. Now a days, probably due to the individuality of the new generation, we care less of what other people do as long as it does not affect us directly. The notion of ‘individuality’ that is being glorified and encouraged by corporates of this world are, in my opinion, directly responsible for the disorderly character of today’s societies. Cleanness of streets will never be effectively delivered by the authorities. Its the responsibility of each and ever member of the society individually.

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