Newtownabbey Borough Council’s Enforcement Team will be taking their ‘Mess Up, Clean Up or Pay Up’ campaign to the Abbeycentre next week, from March 12 to 16.
This time they are aiming to raise awareness of cigarette litter with the clear message ‘No Butts…Bin It!’
Vanessa Hodgen, Principal Environmental Health Officer explained: “The most common type of litter is cigarette litter, but amazingly more than a quarter of smokers don’t class dropping cigarette butts as littering.
“Our No Butts… Bin It message aims to raise awareness that cigarette butts are litter and that, as with any type of litter, anyone caught dropping cigarette butts will receive a Fixed Penalty Notice of £50, to be increased to £80 after April 1.”
The team hope to educate the public and highlight to employees at Abbeycentre that they must dispose of cigarettes butts responsibly when smoking outside the workplace. Management at Abbeycentre will be providing additional cigarette butt bins at entrances, leaving people with no excuse not to bin their butts.
The team will be visiting licensed premises across the borough with posters and distributing ‘butt boxes’, which allow smokers to be responsible when disposing of cigarette butts, regardless of whether they are near a bin or not.
Staff will also be making sure that all licensed premises are aware that as of March 1 the law has changed to make it illegal to sell tobacco products directly to the public from vending machines. Any premises allowing the sale of tobacco products from a vending machine directly to members of the public could face prosecution and a fine of up to £2,500.
As well as highlighting cigarette litter, officers will be encouraging smokers to take the leap this leap year and quit smoking for No Smoking Day on Wednesday, March 14.
Research shows that 7 out of 10 smokers want to stop and council staff can provide information on the free stop smoking services that are available in the area.
For more information contact the council’s Environmental Services department on Tel: 028 9034 0161.