Local authorities are gearing up for 25 tonnes of extra cigarette litter once the smoking ban comes into force.
The Local Government Association (LGA), a cross-party organisation which represents over 400 councils in England and Wales, is warning that street cleaners will need to concentrate on areas outside pubs and clubs in the months following July 1.
- working with local businesses to provide ash trays and special containers outside pubs and restaurants
- handing out free cigarette pouches for smokers
- launching advertising campaigns to ask people not to throw their butts on the ground
An estimated 122 tonnes of cigarette litter is dropped every day across the UK.
Figures from Dublin show that cigarette litter rose by 20 per cent following the Irish ban in 2003. The LGA fears that the same could happen in England and Wales.
Cllr David Rogers, LGA spokesperson for the smoke-free legislation, said: "Town halls are gearing up to deal with the hundreds of extra tonnes of cigarette butts, matches and cigarette boxes that could be carelessly chucked onto our streets by smokers after July 1.
"Fag ends are particularly tricky to clean up as they fall into grates and cracks in the pavement. They also contain toxins which, if left, can get into the water system posing a threat to the environment and wildlife."