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10 000 Butts Finland: the challenge

August 21, 2018

So in my previous blog entry I told you about a challenge I gave myself to try and prove that cigarette waste is a problem. This month I am attempting to pick up 10 000 discarded cigarette butts in my neighbourhood. Up to this point in time I thought it would be easy to find 10 000 – it hasn’t been! I have cleaned up so many of them that 5 000 would have been a more realistic figure for my own neighbourhood. I have had to expand my range a little and take my dog to places I don’t usually take him. Well, I guess that’s okay, because it means less butts in the environment. I am documenting my challenge on Facebook, take a look if you have an account.

Not long after I got started I was contacted by Svenka YLE, the Swedish language arm of the national broadcaster YLE. I was interviewed by Charlotte Lindberg and a piece went up on the net a day later. The Finnish language arm got a hold of that story and up to this point (as I publish this) it has been shared more than 5 200 times on Facebook. I was also contacted by MTV, the big commercial broadcaster in Finland and they also published a great article. I’d like to thank these media outlets for taking the time to find out more about my motivations and challenge.

So far it looks like this (this is from a few days ago):

The 10 000 butt challenge will end on August 31, but it doesn’t mean then end of my efforts to highlight cigarette waste and pollution of the environment. My message is this: we can all do better, one way is not to litter in the first place. With the media highlighting the messy consequences of plastics in our environment, I am just hoping to help people think that they too can make a difference. There are plenty of people out there across this great country doing good things every day to clean up the environment.

I have my detractors. Someone has called my 10 000 butt challenge a stunt. Well sure, it is, but if it motivates people to think about the issue and pick up a few butts, then I have done something right. Don’t get me wrong, 10 000 is a lot – and I still have 10 days left to get to 10 000! Already people have said they will pick up butts when they walk their dogs or that 1 000 is a much more attainable goal. It sure is, but it’s a great start!

Better yet, the Roska Päivässä liike has a great motto: One a day. Pick up one piece of litter a day, and that’s an even better start.

Watch this space.

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