A woman has collected over 10,000 cigarette butts in a month in an attempt to prove to her local council just how bad smoking is becoming for the area.
Liz Smith, who lives in Queenstown in New Zealand, has shared several photos on social media showing the staggering number of cigarette butts she managed to collect from Queenstown Bay and Frankton Beach in order to make a “visual statement”.
Since posting her photos she has received enormous support from her fellow community members who all want to put an end to smoking in New Zealand by 2025.
Ms Smith told Yahoo7 she noticed cigarettes were a problem in her area when she was playing with her four-year-old son at the beach and he picked one up.
“We did a little beach clean together and collected some,” she said.
“I took them home and snapped a picture [and it was] then that I decided to collected for 30 days to make a bit of a visual statement.
“[I’m] absolutely overwhelmed – there has been such a positive response. People want change for health, for environment, [and] for their kids. We live in one of the most beautiful places in the world and I believe we should be doing more to protect this incredible landscape.”
In just one hour of collecting, Ms Smith said she removed over 1000 cigarette butts from her local beach.
“It’s a lot,” she said.
On Tuesday afternoon, Ms Smith is meeting with her local council when they take oral submissions as part of what to include in their 10-year plan.
“I got asked by members of the Southland Coalition to join forces with them to present what I did,” she said. “I will ask council for a further one on one meeting to discuss this even further.”
Ms Smith said she is extremely passionate about making a difference and “helping our environment”.
“We also volunteer as a family for Sea Shepherd who run beach clean-ups on our Queenstown beach every six weeks,” she said.
It’s this cause that Ms Smith believes is one of huge importance.
“Along with environmental reasons, tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death in New Zealand. I have 6,000 locals behind me in support of a smoke free beach off one social media post here in Queenstown, and we only have a population of 25,000,” she said.