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Cape Town campaign urges smokers to bin their butts!

by Sharon Sorour-Morris 31 May 2024
Urban Campaign

Smokers need to dispose of ciggie butts responsibly, says the Cape Town Central City Improvement District (CCID) in a new anti-litter campaign recently launched in the CBD. 

A STRIKING 3D drawing depicting the devastating environmental damage brought on by cigarette-butt litter formed the eye-catching centrepiece of the latest anti-litter campaign in the Cape Town city centre by the Cape Town Central City Improvement District (CCID).

The 5 x 5 m drawing on Thibault Square brilliantly illustrated the message the CCID’s anti-cigarette-butt litter campaign aims to portray: that grinding your ciggie butt out on the pavement is not only hazardous for the built environment but also impacts our marine life when it gets washed into the ocean.

Urban Campaign
Campaign activations have taken place on Thibault Square in the CBD.

Cigarette-butt litter is a huge concern in the Cape Town city centre, according to Kally Benito, manager of the CCID’s Urban Management department. Says Benito, “The CCID collects over 2 000 kg in ciggie butts every year in the Cape Town city centre – the average size of an adult Black rhinoceros – and this presents a significant challenge.

“Ciggie butts stubbed out on pavements often find their way into stormwater drains, eventually landing up in the sea, posing a threat to marine ecosystems. Marine animals, including fish and seabirds, risk ingesting ciggie buts resulting in death. 

“It’s a fact that 500 cigarette butts soaked in 500 litres of seawater can be fatal to fish living in it, and marine conservationists predict that by 2037 there will be more ciggie butts in the ocean than snoek!”

Urban Campaign
Innovative campaign messaging at the entrance to One Thibault.


With its slogan “The Small Butt Big Problem”, the campaign – launched this month – aims to create awareness among members of the public and “actively address the environmental hazards posed by irresponsible littering of cigarette butts”.

In addition to the 5 m x 5 m 3-D drawing, drawn by HandCantrol 360 Crew*, 14 poles and two pillars on and around Thibault Square have been wrapped with anti-ciggie-butt litter messaging, urging people to “Bin You Butts”, “Be Responsible” and “Clean & Green, Use Bins for Butts”.

The CCID, which operates in a 1.6 km² area in the Cape Town CBD, has about 310 cigarette butt bins strategically placed throughout its inner-city footprint for public disposal of cigarette butts. “These bins are emptied twice a month in all four of the CCID’s precincts by a dedicated 16-strong Urban Management team.”

The City of Cape Town joined CCID Urban Management during an activation.
The City of Cape Town joined CCID Urban Management at the Thibault Square activation. 


Benito says the CCID Urban Management department hopes to not only create public awareness and educate smokers not to litter but “to foster a culture of responsible waste disposal and promote sustainable practices among residents, businesses, and visitors alike.  

“Together we can make a tangible different in safeguarding our environment. Join us as we take a proactive stance against environmental degradation and strive towards a cleaner, healthier Cape Town CBD,” says Benito.

The CCID “Small Butt Big Problem” is a three-month campaign which will also roll out on its social media pages and will include public activations in the Cape Town city centre.

*HandCantrol 360 Crew comprise artists Care Creative, Serge One, Dfeat Once, Urban Khoi and Mak1one.


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