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More than 64 thousand cigarette butts out of the streets of Aveiro

In order to collect as many cigarette butts as possible, Agora Aveiro joined the Tutoring Programme of the University of Aveiro and the Professional School of Aveiro to make the city cleaner

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes and 46 seconds

© Helder Berenguer, João Simões

It’s estimated that, in Portugal, around 7000 cigarette butts are thrown on the ground every minute, making a total of 3,7 billion cigarette butts every year. Each one of those butts represents a threat to the environment, as a source of soil and water pollution, and can be mistaken for food and ingested unintentionally by animals. Additionally, most cigarette filters are made of plastic fibres, which can take up to 10 years to decompose. They, thus, become one of the main causes of plastic pollution, and cities like Aveiro are no exception. If we want to enjoy the environment that surrounds us, it is fundamental to ensure its preservation, keeping it clean and healthy. However, some people choose not to do so every time they throw cigarette butts on the ground and, although there are fines for this action, there is still no visible change in behaviour.

It's time to break the habit! So, Agora Aveiro’s “CleanUp Aveiro” project organised its third and last action, a mega “Recolha de Beatas” (Cigarette Butt Collection). After collecting 65 Kg of trash on the beaches of Costa Nova and Vagueira on the May 8th and later, on the October 9th, taking out 80 Kg of garbage of the banks of the Ria de Aveiro, in Veiros, the “Patrulha da Beata” (Butt Patrol) decided to intervene in the spaces in front of our houses, the streets of Aveiro.

November 17th marked the beginning of this action, with a collection carried out by the students of the Tutoring Programme of the University of Aveiro, and it was extended for another 7 days, from November 22nd to 29th, with collections made by the students at the Professional School of Aveiro. During this period, 335 volunteers embraced the motto “Be the Change” and put their hands to work along the streets of the city of Aveiro. In the end, a total of 64 743 cigarette butts were counted. These were kept in a glass display with the motto “A beata é tua, Aveiro é de todos” (“The cigarette butt is yours, Aveiro belongs to all of us”) to draw the population's attention to how easy it is to find cigarette butts in the streets.

These actions try to make people question their daily life behaviours, and alert them to the problem so that they become sensitised to change and promote change. Although this cigarette butt collection marks the end of this project (for now), there is still a lot of work ahead. And you, have you thought about what you can do to improve your city?

Recolha de Beatas is the last of three actions integrated in the project “CleanUp Aveiro”. It was made in collaboration with the Tutoring Programme of University of Aveiro and Professional School of Aveiro. It had Glicínias Plaza, a FNAC Aveiro, a Bxpress e a Grestel as Main Sponsors and S-Vitech as Golden Sponsor. It was made in partnership with Núcleo de Estudantes de Biologia - AAUAvBioLiving Association and Rede Biatakí. It had the support of Aveiro’s City HallPrograma Voluntariado Jovem para a Natureza e Florestas and IPDJ - Instituto Português do Desporto e Juventude I.P..

Ana Filipa Rodrigues