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THE NETHERLANDS

142,000 cigarette butts collected

08 Sep 2020. In a bid to highlight the worldwide problem, anti-plastic campaigners have collected 142,000 cigarette butts from streets across the Netherlands, reports DutchNews.nl.

The campaign saw pick-ups take place in 18 different cities with 70 volunteers in Amsterdam picking up 56,000 cigarette butts in one afternoon alone. The campaign wants to encourage the government to ban cigarette butts that contain plastic and other harmful chemicals and urge the tobacco industry to take responsibility for cigarette-related litter, according to DutchNews.nl.

“Cigarette butts are hardly ever talked about in the discussion around plastic pollution, even though this is one of the most common forms,” said Karl Beerenfenger from By the Ocean we Unite, one of the initiators of the PlasticPeukMeuk collective.

“Communication campaigns do not solve the issue. We must change the product itself. Cigarette filters only serve as a marketing tool to sell more cigarettes. We want to get rid of the plastic cigarette filter altogether,” Beerenfenger said.

Article 8 of the European Single Use Plastics Directive (SUPD) states that tobacco producers are responsible for clearing cigarette butts from the street and the campaigners are calling on the government to set a target of a 70 per cent reduction in cigarette pollution by 2023, reports DutchNews.nl.

“We are asking the Dutch government to monitor the number of cigarettes, and to ensure a fixed price per butt, to make sure that the producers are motivated to take action,” said Rob Buurman, director of Recycling Netwerk Benelux.