June 5, 2019 10:32 pm
Updated: June 5, 2019 10:33 pm

Vancouver launches pilot program to ‘butt out’ cigarette litter

WATCH: The City of Vancouver is launching a new pilot program aimed at reducing cigarette butt litter and the dangers that go with it. Nadia Stewart reports.

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The City of Vancouver is once again turning to “pocket ashtrays” in an attempt to curb cigarette butt litter.

According to the city, nearly one million cigarette butts are discarded in Vancouver every day.

It’s why the Downtown Business Improvement Association welcomes the city’s latest pilot project aimed at reducing litter.

WATCH: (Aired May 10) Cigarette butts most common litter on Canadians shores

“We’re really shocked to see how many cigarette butts are on the streets,” the association’s CEO Charles Gauthier said Wednesday.

Instead of squishing cigarette butts into the sidewalk, the hope is people will stuff their smokes into the special plastic envelopes, then later dump them into a trash bin.

READ MORE: City of North Vancouver mayor wants 5-cent deposit on cigarette butts


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“They’re intended to reduce cigarette butt litter by putting the solution directly into the hands of smokers and making properly disposing cigarette butts as convenient as possible,” the city’s engineering service manager Jerry Dobrovolny said.

This isn’t the first time the city has tried pocket ashtrays: 3,500 were ordered last year, at a total cost of $4,375 from taxpayers.

READ MORE: Vancouverites can now be fined $500 for improperly discarding cigarettes

This year, 6,000 pocket ashtrays have been ordered, at a total cost of $4,500.

But tinder-dry conditions across the Lower Mainland this year have created a perfect recipe for human-caused grass fires, including the one that sparked in Stanley Park on May 2.

WATCH: (Aired March 7, 2016) Vancouver has big (cigarette) butt problem

“Virtually all outdoor fires that take place in the city are caused by improperly disposed of cigarette butts,” Dobrovolny said.

B.C. Wildfire Service is also urging smokers to properly dispose their cigarette butts in the trash or in ashtrays, rather than throwing them into nature or on the road.

In Vancouver, smokers can be fined $500 for discarding cigarette butts irresponsibly.

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