Smokers in Bundoran are being encouraged to vote with their cigarette butts following the installation of two new “ballot bins” at the sea front.
The initiative is a joint venture between Donegal County Council, Bundoran Tidy Towns and Discover Bundoran in association with Clean Coasts, all of whom are eager to see a reduction in the amount of cigarette butts in the seaside town, particularly along the beach front and on the beach itself. Startling statistics reveal that cigarette butts were the top litter item found on beaches across 190 countries during a recent international cleanup day. Furthermore chemicals found in one butt can leach out and contaminate approximately 7.5 litres of water within one hour.
The bins, bright yellow in colour, have two containers for cigarette butts. Above the containers is a ballot – a choice of two options. Smokers disposing of their cigarette butts can choose their preferred option to “vote” for with their butt. Ballots will include fun topics like “Tea v Coffee”, “Poirot v Sherlock Holmes” etc
David Friel, Coastal Officer with Donegal County Council is totally behind the initiative ‘we are delighted to support Bundoran Tidy Towns with this unique project which will hopefully reduce the amount of cigarette butts on the beach and ultimately in the ocean. It takes 12 years for a cigarette butt to break down and they are not biodegradable. Last year our teams collected thousands of them from the beach in Bundoran which are damaging the planet. We are hoping that these ballot boxes will encourage smokers to dispose of their butts properly while also having a little bit of fun too.’
Shane Smyth, Bundoran Tourism Officer added ‘we want everyone who visits Bundoran to experience a clean and welcoming environment. The statistics about cigarette butts are just staggering and we hope that with the Ballot Bins project, we can do a little bit to stop them entering our waters. Cigarette butts flicked into the sand or onto the street are litter – the same as throwing an empty sweet wrapper on the ground. They are causing harm to the environment and everyone needs to do their bit to ensure it’s a clean one.
Members of the public are invited to make their suggestions for ballots that can be used across the summer season. Those which are used will win a prize courtesy of Clean Coasts with pens, mugs, keep cups and towels up for grabs. Suggestions for ballots can be submitted via www.discoverbundoran.com/tidytowns
Read the World Health Organisation’s information on smoking here