Butts amajorpolluter

Stormwater ambassadors Cate Kildea and Darcy Dunlop cleaning up the streets of Byron Bay.
Stormwater ambassadors Cate Kildea and Darcy Dunlop cleaning up the streets of Byron Bay.

Byron Council has sent 'stormwater ambassadors' into the Byron Bay CBD to remind people that 'drains are just for rain'.

It's part of a six-week program aimed at raising the local community's awareness about stormwater pollution.

Jude Mason, the council's stormwater officer, said there was a misconception that stormwater was treated at the sewage treatment plant.

"It's not. Stormwater pollution has a huge impact on our waterways' health."

Ms Mason said the biggest litter culprit in Australia was cigarette butts.

She said they made up half of all the litter in Australia and took five years to break down.

About 7.2 billion cigarettes were discarded in Aust rlaia every year and the filters could contain thousands of chemicals, she said.

Ms Mason said feedback from the Byron Bay 'stormwater ambassadors' was alarming.

She said they had found the primary form of stormwater pollution in the town was cigarette butts with thousands picked up in just one day.

Other major polluters were small litter items including tomato sauce wrappers, gum wrappers and bottles, she said.

Ms Mason said 'stormwater ambassadors' were handing out personal ashtrays to smokers and also asking interested shoppers to fill in a stormwater survey as part of the education project.

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