The CFA and Environment Protection Authority are calling on smokers to not flick their cigarettes, especially from car windows.
With the fire danger period for North Eastern Victoria expected to continue into May, the CFA and EPA are asking that people think about how they’re disposing of their cigarette butts.
Many fires in Victoria are caused by discarded lit cigarette butts and EPA North East Region manager Emma Knights is hoping people will continue to report others who flick their butts out of car window.
‘‘EPA counts on members of the public to report people who flick their butts out of car windows,’’ Ms Knights said.
‘Flicking lit cigarettes out your car window is a serious fire hazard, as recent fire tragedies across our state have shown.
‘‘And cigarette butt litter pollutes our roadsides and chokes our waterways.’’
Some of Victoria’s worst bushfires were sparked by discarded cigarettes and the CFA regularly attends fire caused by people who have flicked their butt away when they’ve finished their cigarette.
Mr Warrington said more than half of Victorian bushfires are deliberately lit or caused by reckless behaviour.
‘‘One of the most common causes is inappropriately disposing of cigarette butts,’’ he said.
‘‘Recklessly caused fires are often viewed by the community as accidental, but in reality, the potential for injury, loss of life, property damage and drain on resources is the same as that caused by arson.’’
The EPA handed out more than $5million in fines to Victorians for throwing away litter from their cars with the majority being cigarette butts.
Ms Knights said that EPA’s litter reporting program works to curb cigarette butt littering, with fines and enforcement actions undertaken through the courts ‘‘sending a clear message that this kind of mindless behaviour will have real consequences’’.
EPA litter fines range from $322 for a small piece of rubbish or unlit cigarette up to $645 for a lit cigarette.
Individuals issued with a litter fine have the right to request that EPA review the matter or to have it determined in court.
People can report littering via EPA’s website, through its smartphone litter app, or by phoning 1300 372 842.
This article was first published in the Seymour Telegraph on March 20 2019.