British Columbia

Nanaimo handing out pocket ashtrays to smokers

The City of Nanaimo is trying to crack down on cigarette butt litter with an innovative new program that puts the problem in the pockets of smokers.

Pilot project is giving away 200 pocket ashtrays as part of its Keep Nanaimo Clean campaign

The City of Nanaimo is trying to reduce the number of cigarette butts on its streets. (CBC)

The City of Nanaimo is trying to clean up its streets by giving smokers free pocket ashtrays.

The ashtrays resemble a small coin purse and are used to put out cigarettes and store the butts until the smoker can empty the contents into a litter bin — instead of throwing them on the street.

"Cigarette butts are the largest portion of the litter that we collect," said Charlotte Davis, the city's manager of recycling and sanitation.

"Sometimes with it being such a small piece of litter, people don't even classify it as litter," said Davis, "But it's all litter and it's all the same stuff and it's bad for the environment and our city."

The pilot project is giving away 200 pocket ashtrays as part of its Keep Nanaimo Clean campaign, which has been spreading anti-littering messages throughout the city.

The City of Nanaimo is handing out 200 of these pocket ashtrays as an initiative to reduce cigarette litter. (City of Nanaimo)

Davis says the city is not encouraging smoking, but wants to help existing smokers put their butts in the trash. 

"I am absolutely not encouraging smoking. It's just that we are admitting that we do have a problem with cigarette butt litter and we have to do something about that," she said. 

The pocket ashtrays can be picked up for free at city facilities. 

Anyone caught littering in Nanaimo can face a fine of $100.


To hear the full interview listen to the audio labelled Nanaimo handing out pocket ashtrays to smokers on the CBC's On The Island. 

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