It is now illegal to smoke on Byron Shire beaches.
It is now illegal to smoke on Byron Shire beaches. Contributed

Warnings, fines if you're caught smoking on our beaches

'LITTER blitzes' are underway on Byron Shire beaches until the end of March, with council's rangers taking some strong anti-cigarette litter messages to the people as part of the Butt Free Byron Shire campaign.

The campaign is supported by a $100,000 Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) grant to conduct a program of education and compliance.

"We know that cigarette litter is a serious problem and, as it takes around five years to break down in seawater, it can have catastrophic consequences for our marine life and environment,” the council's Waste Education and Compliance Officer, Kate Akkerman, said.

"That's why we are serious about keeping cigarette litter off our beaches and out of our waterways and our compliance team is out and about on beaches and foreshore areas talking to people about the size and impact of our litter problem.

"Many locals and visitors would be unaware that it is now illegal to smoke on beaches in the Byron Shire and that you will be warned and can be fined if you're caught smoking or littering,” Ms Akkerman said.

"We hope a bit more education on the ground will produce better understanding of the negative impact of cigarette litter and reduced rates of this harmful littering,” she said.

What you can do:

  • Be responsible for your own litter, think about where you will dispose of your butt before you light up.
  • Do NOT smoke on the beach. Please leave the beach for a smoke and use the bins provided.
  • Do not leave your butts in the hinterland either - it is just as important as our coast. Litter and other pollutants wash into our stormwater drains when it rains.
  • Use the butt bins provided when possible. It is easy for butts to escape the regular litter bin when it is serviced.