Abject nonsense

The world’s biggest tobacco companies are fuming after being blindsided by ministers over plans to make them pay tens of millions of pounds to pick up cigarette butts.

Environment minister Rebecca Pow said cigarette makers must be made “fully accountable for the unsightly scourge of litter created by their products”.

Tobacco firms said that they had already voluntarily agreed to pay £50m to an environmental organisation that would aim to discourage smokers from dropping cigarette butts.

But with the money due to be handed over at the start of April, the Government instead decided a regulatory intervention was required to force them to pay for the clean-up.

The people dropping the cigarette butts are the people dropping the cigarette butts. So, fine them.

Pollution is, after all, caused by polluters.

18 thoughts on “Abject nonsense”

  1. The Meissen Bison

    I’m waiting for Jim-the-hedge-clearer’s comprehensive list but for my part I’d like swingeing fines upon those responsible for the mega-confetti of blue and white face masks that litter the footpaths.

    As unsightly scourges go, it’s hard to beat the House of Commons.

  2. One could charge the windmillers the costs of blackouts, and the extra transmission lines and the wear and tear caused by revving the fossil fuel generators up and down. Then there’s the visual pollution, and the cost of picking up all those minced birds and insects.

    Or one could charge all the demonstrators for the public nuisance caused by their prancing around.

    Perhaps we could charge the food sellers for the costs of cleaning up all the packaging; and when this leads to far greater food wastage we could charge them for that as well.

    But I think the best bet is to charge everyone with environmental rape when they breathe out horrid CO2 and molest poor old Mother Gaia. Indeed one could reasonably condemn everyone to death, as their life constitutes an appalling abuse of our otherwise pristine environment.

  3. @Boganboy

    Perhaps we could charge the food sellers for the costs of cleaning up all the packaging; and when this leads to far greater food wastage we could charge them for that as well.

    Producers are already liable for taxes on single use plastics including those used in packaging. This will be passed onto the retailers and from then onto the consumer, which is probably the same thing that will happen to the butt tax.

  4. And I thought it the height of absurdity when some yank lawyers seriously suggested suing gun manufacturers for the effects of “drive-by shootings”…

  5. This is an unintended consequence of the smoking ban. Now it’s no longer possible to smoke indoors where ashtrays were provided it was bound to happen. Not saying it ever happened before, and there aren’t selfish people out there, but what did they expect. Still a useful opportunity to extort more money from smokers.

  6. After reading about the piles of rubbish left by people enjoying the open spaces. I assume the government will be forcing manufacturers of single use barbecues, and other rubbish left by the litter morons, to pay for the clearing up.
    Slightly off topic, I understand that someone in the Midlands has been spoken to by Police after he put up posters showing the faces of locals dropping or leaving litter in the parks. I would have thought a little bit of local recognition and humiliation would do more for prevention than litter wardens having the bottle to fine people?

  7. “I’m waiting for Jim-the-hedge-clearer’s comprehensive list ”

    It would be a list of virtually all the drinks and fast food manufacturers who would be on the hook for a fortune in litter clearing costs. All the cheap alcohol manufacturers for sure (Fosters/Strongbow/Heineken etc) plus cheap spirits (mostly vodka) and the odd bottle of cheap wine. Then there’s all the soft drinks, Coke and Pepsi obviously, but also a lot of ‘energy’ drinks, Monster and Redbull are particularly well represented. Costa coffee et al would be on the hook for a lot, as would Maccy Ds, KFC and Burger King. Around here not much in the way of smoking paraphernalia, the odd empty fag packet and plastic baccy pouches. Crisp makers would have a heavy burden to pay too. loads of them, plus the chocolate bar makers would get a bill too.

    I’m not quite sure who should be liable for the bill for the bags and bottles of urine that we get around here, personally I’d send that one to Amazon, as I’m not far from an Amazon distribution centre and rumour has it that Amazon are such slave drivers that their drivers have no time to stop to go to the loo all day and have to piss in bottles etc to be able to make their required delivery rates. The supermarkets also would have some liability – empty sandwich packets and plastic ‘on the go’ food wrappers also make up a significant proportion of litter. Ginsters could well go bust.

  8. Good list, Jim, thanks.

    Apart from the discarded masks, the only thing possibly missing from your inventory are the bags of dog poo which ‘responsible’ pet owners feel that they need to bag up and attach to fences, hedges and gates rather than take home. This is very civic minded and one has to hope that the deer, badgers and foxes (inter alia) will soon learn to follow suit.

  9. When our children were very young we would push the pram round the local lanes for a Sunday stroll.We noticed the litter in the hedge bottom and began to recognise a pattern. The lanes were the route home from the local school and the litter began far enough out of the town for the kids to have eaten the crisps/biscuits whatever they had bought at the corner shop on their way home.After about a half mile the litter stopped.

  10. Note that the Government’s plain packaging legislation prohibits tobacco companies from communicating with their customers an attempt to dissuade the customers from littering…

  11. Make Chiquita pay for discarded banana peels, and Wrigley for gum under tables. Make Kleenex pay for tissues on the sidewalk…even if they’re Puffs, because no one can tell the difference anyway.

    How many other industries are there? Who will even try to make a list?

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