Philip Morris South Africa (PMSA) recently launched its Unsmoke campaign in South Africa. Now, the tobacco company is joining forces with the Central City Improvement District (CCID) and the City of Cape Town in taking on the cigarette butt litter problem currently plaguing Cape Town’s streets. They aim to do this by increasing the public’s awareness of the problem, as well as encouraging smokers to dispose of their cigarette butts responsibly.
The PMSA Unsmoke campaign urges people to rid their lives of smoke. “If you are not a smoker, don’t start,” says Marcelo Nico, managing director of PMSA. “If you are a smoker, the best choice you can make is to quit. If you don’t quit, then change to a better alternative. In this manner, we can ‘unsmoke’ ourselves, our friends, our families, our city and our world,” he says.
Campaign addresses cigarette butt litter
Part of the Unsmoke campaign includes tackling the problem of cigarette butt litter. “As a tobacco company, we believe it’s important to partner with authorities and the public on the problem of cigarette butt litter,” says Nico. “It is our aim to ‘unsmoke’ the city of Cape Town and increase public awareness about keeping the city litter-free. Cape Town is not an ashtray,” he explains.
Recently, a public activation was held in the Cape Town central business district (CBD), in partnership with the CCID and City of Cape Town. Teams consisting of PMSA employees were deployed across the CBD to help clean up cigarette butts. During the busy lunch hour, the massive pile of collected cigarette butts was displayed in St George’s Mall.
300 cigarette butt bins placed in Cape Town CBD
On average, the CCID sweeps and collects 2400 kg of litter from the streets of central Cape Town every week. A major cause of cigarette butt litter is the lack of disposal infrastructure. To rectify this, the CCID has placed 300 cigarette butt bins around the CBD. Around 300 kg of cigarette butts is removed from these bins every month.
“It costs the CCID R30 000 per day to clean the Cape Town CBD, which amounts to nearly R11m per year,” says CCID chief executive officer Tasso Evangelinos. “This is on top of the mass waste removal done by the City of Cape Town through the emptying of black wheelie and green street-pole municipal bins,” he says. Philip Morris South Africa is planning on expanding this initiative to other cities across South Africa.
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