Tax Cigarette Giants To Stub Out Littering

Even as many smokers kick the habit, cigarette stubs remain the most prevalent form of litter blighting in our towns and countryside.

The scourge is so extensive that the bill for cleaning up the mess is precisely calculated at around £40 million a year.

With the burden of that cost falling mainly on already strained councils, ministers are now considering forcing tobacco firms to pay an additional tax to help finance the cleanup but attempts to get the industry to voluntarily take fiscal responsibility for the disposal of butts and other rubbish have been unsuccessful.

Other possible solutions such as encouraging smokers to carry around portable ashtrays have, unsurprisingly, also never taken off.

Cigarette filters are particularly damaging because of their high content of plastic fibres and the toxic chemicals from the cigarette itself, and butts can linger in the environment for numerous years and deliver these chemicals into the air, soil and water, harming plants and wildlife.

Imposing a tax on single-use plastic, which a cigarette butt effectively is, would be made possible by a novel power currently being legislated for in the Environment Bill.

This would require the tobacco industry to fund the full disposal costs, with the Government leaning towards a tax to ensure that the industry takes sufficient fiscal responsibility for the litter created by its products.

The move mirrors endeavours to tax chewing gum, which also costs millions to clean off streets every year.

And it comes as Keep Britain Tidy launches the Great British Spring Clean, proudly supported by the Daily Mail, the national litter picking effort which takes place between May 28 and June 13 this year.

Environment minister Rebecca Pow said that cigarette butts are a scourge on our communities, dirtying our streets or ending up washed down the drain and contaminating our waterways and oceans.

She said that we must all take action to preserve the environment and that they’re committed to making sure that the tobacco industry plays its part, and that was why they were exploring how cigarette companies could be held fully accountable for the hideous scourge of litter created by their products.

Public health minister Jo Churchill added that they’re making remarkable progress in their ambition to be a smoke-free nation by 2030 and that while this is making a real impression on public health, the environmental repercussions of smoking due to cigarette stubs and package littering was still a significant issue.

But it’s not only tobacco companies that are at fault, it’s other companies as well that manufacture foods with plastic coverings et cetera. And what about forcing a fine on those companies when people throw away crisp packets or coke cans on the street, so this is a stupid idea.

You could, however, penalise the person that throws the item away, but then councils should make sure there’s enough cash in the pot to put more waste bins in so that people can throw their waste away in the first place, that way there wouldn’t be any abdication of personal responsibility by manufacturers or councils, only the person who casts the item on the ground without any consideration for anyone else or the environment itself.

If they make cigarette companies responsible, then are mask makers going to have to pick up their trash – will take out places have to pick up their boxes and containers, because you can’t make one company responsible and not another, but then that’s what litter pickers are for, and it keeps them in a job, where they certainly don’t get enough money for what they do!

Published by Angela Lloyd

My vision on life is pretty broad, therefore I like to address specific subjects that intrigue me. Therefore I really appreciate the world of politics, though I have no actual views on who I will vote for, that I will not tell you, so please do not ask! I am like an observation station when it comes to writing, and I simply take the news and make it my own. I have no expectations, I simply love to write, and I know this seems really odd, but I don't get paid for it, I really like what I do and since I am never under any pressure, I constantly find that I write much better, rather than being blanketed under masses of paperwork and articles that I am on a deadline to complete. The chances are, that whilst all other journalists are out there, ripping their hair out, attempting to get their articles completed, I'm simply rambling along at my convenience creating my perfect piece. I guess it must look pretty unpleasant to some of you that I work for nothing, perhaps even brutal. Perhaps I have an obvious disregard for authority, I have no idea, but I would sooner be working for myself, than under somebody else, excuse the pun! Small I maybe, but substantial I will become, eventually. My desk is the most chaotic mess, though surprisingly I know where everything is, and I think that I would be quite unsuited for a desk job. My views on matters vary and I am extremely open-minded to the stuff that I write about, but what I write about is the truth and getting it out there, because the people must be acquainted. Though I am quite entertained by what goes on in the world. My spotlight is mostly to do with politics, though I do write other material as well, but it's essentially politics that I am involved in, and I tend to concentrate my attention on that, however, information is essential. If you have information the possibilities are endless because you are only limited by your own imagination...

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