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Cigarette butt display in Brussels aims to raise awareness on litter

13:32 01/07/2024

A public display of 90,000 cigarette butts has been erected in Place de la Monnaie in Brussels as part of a large-scale awareness and clean-up campaign organised by the city of Brussels.

The campaign aims to convince residents to stop throwing cigarette butts on the ground.

“One cigarette butt contains almost 2,500 toxic substances and can pollute up to 500,000 litres of water,” said Zoubida Jellab (Ecolo), Brussels alderwoman for public cleanliness and green spaces.

“When cigarette butts are disposed of, they often end up in watercourses, which has serious consequences for aquatic fauna and flora.”

The 90,000 cigarette butts for the display were collected between 1 June and 26 June by participating residents, associations and companies.

“Cigarette butts are everywhere – around trees and in our streets, planters and green spaces,” Jellab said.

“Due to their small size and their ability to get stuck in the cobblestones and cracks in the pavements, they are particularly difficult for cleaning crews to clean up. Throwing cigarette butts on the ground is no small matter and carries huge consequences.”

Jellab advocates making pocket ashtrays compulsory for smokers.

Photo: Timon Ramboer/Belga

Written by Helen Lyons