It’s the last Friday of the month and therefore the day on which bloggers around the world post a good news story. We hope that a good news story will bring a smile and help alleviate the darkness we’re confronted by that makes up much of our daily news.

With plastic in our oceans and landfills causing great concern, this story from Good Things Guy gives a clear example of the urgency of removing cigarette butts. I know that when go walking on the beach with bag in hand to pick up litter, the amount of cigarette butts in the sand is appalling.

About 6 trillion cigarettes are manufactured a year and over 90% of them contain plastic filters. That’s more than one million tonnes of plastic.

Our thanks to our co-hosts of #WATWB this month. They are: Sylvia SteinShilpa GargEric Lahtiand Lizbeth Hartz. Do pop by their posts and say hello.

Some guidelines if you’d like to participate – the more the merrier. Posts to be short, under 500 words providing a link to your good news story and say why that particular post appealed to you. No political or religious posts. And please use the #WATWB hashtag and badge on your posts on social media. If you’d like to participate, this is the link to sign up. https://www.linkytools.com/wordpress_list.aspx?id=277138&type=basic

Thank you for reading and have a great weekend!


Unsmoking Cape Town: War on plastic turns to war on Cigarette butts!

44 Comments on #WATWB

  1. Very important subject, its a serious issue among the young and the old too… once addicted they struggle with smoking. I recall in my previous office where i worked, there was a corner wherein all the men used to gather to smoke, it was called the smoker’s den:). Now I am finding even school boys and girls are getting into this addiction.. we have been addressing this in schools and colleges through the #YWCAofsecunderabad (young women christian association ) sensitizing the students of the hazards of smoking and the other aspect is littering around. Thanks for sharing Susan.

    • Thanks Genevive for coming by and sorry for late response – been out of WiFi signal. There’s no smoking eg in shopping centers but gosh when you get to the underground parking to fetch car, the smell of stale smoke hits you. Great that you’re addressing youngsters through the YWC of the hazards of smoking. ❤️

  2. I always appreciate a good news story, Susan. Your post and this story is a huge reminder on how small things can make a big difference. Smoking is an issue on many levels. Thank you for sharing.

    • Thanks for coming by Erica. There seem to be fewer smokers around and more butts around … how does that figure I wonder. I suppose we’re noticing.

  3. Thank you, Susan. This is an important post and another way we can take care of our world. When a group of men replaced my house roof a few years ago, I sweetly hassled them about throwing cigarette butts around my yard. They complied. That was a while back and it’s become less acceptable to smoke here or toss cigarette butts around. I wonder how much of that plastic goes in the lungs and contributes to lung disease? I read recently that plastic tea bags fill the tea and cup with plastic–and our bodies. I bought a new kind of organic fair-trade green tea and the teabags are plastic mesh. The box doesn’t mention this in their organic tea hype. I’m now buying bulk tea and using my stainless tea ball, so another tiny action. Small positive steps in a wild world.

    • Hi Elaine, yes, I also ask maintenance people not to drop their butts. I’ve heard that tea bags contain plastic – thank you for the reminder. I really have to look into this, and do away with tea bags unless it states on the box that the bags are plastic free. I’ve heard that the glue used to make bamboo coffee mugs, supposedly disposable, is NOT good. I can’t remember what the glue is supposed to contain but the very word ‘glue’ is maybe cause for alarm! The day that it’s stated that marmalade is carcinogenic is the day I give up. The other day I was hunting for palm oil free cookies … what a battle. I found a pack, gluten free, no additives, and stated on the palm oil used was sustainable palm oil. They cost a lot. I got them but only out of desperation 🙂 We honestly have to be sooo vigilant but it is these small steps that do make a difference. Thank you for coming by

  4. Ack! I really don’t like when people throw their cigarette butts out the window, but on a beach?! Really?? Also don’t like people who throw stuff out their car windows. :0( [p.s. I don’t think the link is working to the story, or maybe I’m being dense.]
    Have a great day, Susan.

  5. What a fabulous initiative, Susan. I knew cigarette butts were a nuisance but I had no idea they contained so much plastic. It would be great if we could eliminate smoking all together. I have to say though, that it’s much better now than it was when I was young. It’s unusual to see people smoking in public places now. When I was young and going out for the the night, I’d come home reeking of smoke. It saturated my clothes, my hair, my pores, even though I wasn’t a smoker. I loved it when it was banned. If only we could get the smokers, if they must smoke, to be more mindful of how they dispose of their butts.

    • Who would have known?! But I guess more than we know contains plastic … even those microbeads that we use to clean our faces or give them a light scrub ..

      Non-smokers have a hard time indeed when in a smoky environment. My guess is that smokers too can’t believe how smelly their clothes, hair and so on are after puffing. I think smokers are aware of the war against them and are hopefully being more responsible of disposing of butts. Just the other day, there was a clean up of butts in Cape Town City centre and a photo of the collection was placed in a verrrry prominent position and shared across social media … I think I saw it on FB.. It was rather shocking!

      Hope you’re having a good weekend – nice and cool here in Plett – new moon bringing spring and rip tides and rather drastic weather along the western cape garden route is forecast …

      • I had a wonderful weekend, Susan. Thank you. I hope that weather is not as drastic as feared over your way. We are having beautiful spring days here at the moment, but rain is badly needed in many areas. It’s expected to be a dry spring and summer though, which will make it rather unpleasant for many.
        I think you are right about smokers becoming more responsible. I think education has played a significant role. The objections were strong in the beginning, which is often the way, but it soon becomes the norm. So good. 🙂
        Enjoy the rest of your Sunday.

        • Have been out of WiFi signal for last few days Norah – may have missed a post or two of yours which I check when I can use my lap top. Big rains when we left on Sunday and also in the lodge we spent 2 nights at. First rains they’ve had in that area for a long time. I’m looking forward to being in Johannesburg later on today (for a few) days and seeing the highveld in its spring bloom 😀

          • That sounds lovely, Susan. I hope you post a photo or two. No worries about my posts. They won’t go anywhere, though they’d love to join you on the highveld.

  6. Hi Susan – plastic is not a good thing … so difficult to get rid of – but we have to start. I wish people wouldn’t smoke – those butts are far worse than I realised. I too hate ‘vapes’ – I hate to think what the ‘smoke’ is doing to my lungs – apart from the nauseous scent that I have to smell if one takes a puff up in front of me as I’m walking around.

    Plastic bags – people are profligate and do not think … I feel for the poorer people – they’re not as well educated as us … but I do wonder how people on their home countries can live with waste around them (in Canada too) – it’s interesting the refugee camps are usually much cleaner.

    Thanks – #WATWB lets us see so many different stories … Hilary

    • There are such lovely cloth shopping bags available here in our shops Hilary – almost like a fashion accessory! I’ve been gifted a few and have gifted a few. I think the world is waking up but as you say, not necessarily the poorer people. Perhaps those who do not own their own homes, do not have pride in ownership, but it’s also true that shacks can be cleaner than our own homes. Interesting about refugee camps being clean … Thanks for coming by Hilary and have a lovely weekend 🙂

  7. One of our beaches finally voted to prohibit smoking on the beach which has decreased the butts. We still find some though. This post reminds me to take a container to collect them when I go.

  8. Hi, Susan – Like so many of the other commenters, I never realized that there were plastic filters in cigarette butts. ‘Let’s Unsmoke the World Together’ sounds like a wonderful initiative to me!

  9. I honestly didn’t know there was plastic in cigarette buts, Susan. Cigarette’s are such disgusting smelly things. Maybe the medical aids and government hospital’s should stop treating people who get sick from self inflicted illnesses caused by obesity and smoking and that might deter people from being so selfish and irresponsible.

    • Addictions of any kind are mostly self-inflicted I agree Robbie. There are all kinds of unconscious motivations why people have addictions whether it be e.g. gambling, alcohol, smoking, shopping and maxing the credit card to the max, food … ah! If we only knew the whys and wherefores … and took the time and trouble to uncover those addictions … ! Have a lovely weekend 🙂

      • I do hear you, Susan, but I am afraid that I do think that at some point people have to be accountable for their own actions. We are all dealt our cards in life which we have to play. What you see on the exterior does not indicate what a person has experienced in their life and how they chose to handle their own adversities.

    • I admire those who’ve been able to give up this addiction, because that’s what it is. Most of us have addictions of one kind or another, some more serious than others. Giving up smoking must be one of the hardest. Thanks for coming by Jacqui, and have a great weekend 🙂

      • Hi Susan,

        I’ve got to admit, I’m one of those who gave up smoking cigarettes: on July 1, 1976. Forty three years ago plus. I’ll never forget the day, or how difficult it was. Or how I was suddenly able to taste again. I put on weight eating peanut butter and honey sandwiches! I had a little magazine that told me how to quit: get up after dinner and go for a walk. Don’t drink while you’re quitting; it lowers inhibitions. The advice worked. I also had dreams that I was smoking, and was so disappointed at myself. Then I woke up, and was happy it was just a dream.

        Anyway, great article. Like others here, I had no idea there was so much plastic in cigarettes! I too dislike repairmen throwing butts around; I found one in the yard today. How wonderful that the town you mention is unsmoking the town. Fantastic article!

        • Hi Lizbeth, thanks for coming by – well done for stopping and saying NO. It’s an addiction that requires enormous willpower and courage and much more to give up. The less said about my smoking habits the better. There’s micro plastics in just about everything – even those lovely facial scrubs … Have a lovely weekend 🙂

  10. I had no idea there was so much plastic waste in cigarettes. I’m fascinated and horrified in equal parts. Great topic of your #WATWB post. The more you know…

  11. Ya, I think we’re all guilty of these transgressions at some stage or the other – could start a #metoo 🙂 I’ve stopped behind a car on an occasion or two when the driver flipped a fag out the window and got out my car and picked it up and ‘given’ it back to the flipper … not sure I would do that again in a hurry anymore though 🙂 It makes my blood boil when stuff is thrown by drivers onto the road or pavements … Fines are surely the best way to go … hit it where it hurts…

    Autumnal blessings to you too Deborah and have a lovely weekend …

  12. I enjoy smoking the occasional roll-up since my student days, and only stopped during pregnancy. It’s my addictive ritual to hand roll cigarettes, thin. Put down they simply stop burning.

    I intensely dislike filter cigarettes – the ugly filter buds, which are non-degradable, but also because they keep the tobacco burning, filling up any space with smoke in no time.

    Before commercial cigarettes, smoking was a sacred ritual in some communities. American Indians used to empty their pipes at the foot of a tree as a blessing.

    Re: Littering. I recently saw a mother with small children in the car flicking an empty plastic bottle out of her car window in an underground car park. She noticed my witnessing and drove off in a huff.
    Is it an assumption that other people get paid for cleaning up? A deep seated aggression? Sad, but hefty fines have become necessary to change such behaviour.

    • Thanks for coming by Ashen, that’s so interesting about the American Indians emptying their pipes at the foot of a tree as a blessing.

      Sad to say, I suspect that littering is not considered a big deal by the litterers as their thinking may well be inter alia someone will clean up after me and get paid for it so why not. Well, as it happens, clean ups by 1000’s of unpaid volunteers happen here in SA – not by the municipalities who I fear are sort of leaving it up to the volunteers …

      Have a lovely weekend 🙂

  13. Yay! Let’s “Unsmoke” the World together! This is such a great #WATWB news story Susan and as an ex-smoker (who fortunately gave up smoking herself 15 years ago) I know that in the past I was guilty of dropping cigarette butts too … having no idea back then of the damage I was causing the environment … and as I live close to the beach this resonates deeply.

    Luckily today I live in a town where the local council charges people a £500 fine when caught dropping a cigarette but also names and shames them in the local paper too … which has made a huge difference to all kind of other littering. It’s not a perfect scheme but with regular beach clean ups too they do their best. Warm autumnal / spring blessings, Deborah.

    • Ya, I think we’re all guilty of these transgressions at some stage or the other – could start a #metoo 🙂 I’ve stopped behind a car on an occasion or two when the driver flipped a fag out the window and got out my car and picked it up and ‘given’ it back to the flipper … not sure I would do that again in a hurry anymore though 🙂 It makes my blood boil when stuff is thrown by drivers onto the road or pavements … Fines are surely the best way to go … hit it where it hurts…

      Autumnal blessings to you too Deborah and have a lovely weekend …

      • Ha-Ha! Oh, I wouldn’t have the nerve to give it back to a car driver but I will definitely say something if picnic litter is left on the beach … that makes me blood boil over! In fact once I even walked over and handed a family a carrier bag so they could scoop it all up and take it away with them. 🙂

        • Now there’s a thing – re giving bag to the litterers 🙂 I usually carry a couple of extra bags when at the grocery store to give if someone is going to buy one. Plastic bags are not cheap and its endlessly interesting to me that the poorer people buy them. It would be a considerable monthly savings if plastic bags were endlessly re-used. That’s not strictly true though – I’ve seen the smartest of men and women at swanky grocery stores buying masses of goods and therefore masses of plastic bags, Blood boiling stuff 🙂

Comments are closed.