SUBIC BAY FREEPORT ZONE—The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority Ecology Center’s “Heaviest Butt Campaign” has gone viral just 48 hours since it was posted online.
The campaign reached 6 million people, 45,600 shares, 30,200 likes and 19,200 comments and questions on Facebook.
People took interest when they read that SBMA is buying dry cigarette butts for P300 per kilo.
The Heaviest Butt Campaign was first conceptualized after SBMA learned that cigarette butts are one of the top three litter collected during the yearly International Coastal Cleanup in Subic Bay. Statistics show about 4.5 trillion butts are thrown away worldwide every year.
SBMA Ecology Center has partnered with a local company that has designed its own machine for litter or garbage recycling and upcycling.
The cigarette butts collected through the campaign are given to this company as material for testing and study, to see if it is possible to remove their smell and toxins so they can be upcycled into bricks or hollow blocks.
Ecology Center is collecting 20 to 60 kilograms of cigarette butts for the study. This campaign is part of SBMA’s bigger program dubbed as “War on Waste.”
Most comments on Facebook expressed surprise, such as “Is this true?” Some were curious: “What will you do with the cigarette butts that you are buying?”
Meant to be a local campaign, it has caught international attention. People from Metro Manila, Laguna, La Union, Baguio, Cagayan De Oro, and as far as Davao are asking where and how do they send their cigarette butts.
SBMA Chairman and Administrator Atty. Wilma T. Eisma said: “We are very happy that our campaign has gone viral and is catching the attention of a lot of people. We are hopeful that the study in which these cigarette butts will be used on, would turn out positive as well.”
Cigarette butts cannot be recycled because of the smell and the toxins they contain such as lead, arsenic, and cadmium. Some data say it takes up to 10 years for cigarette butts to decompose. In the meantime, they contaminate soil and water resources.
SBMA is also launching the Refuse Single Use, a campaign against the use of disposable plastics, and Straw Sucks, a campaign against using plastic straws and promoting the use of alternative materials such as bamboo or metal straws, or not to use straws at all.
“We hope that with these campaigns, there will eventually be behavioral change among its stakeholders to promote environmental responsibility. It aims to strengthen partnership and collaboration with the local community in keeping a clean and healthy Subic Bay Freeport Zone as the place of choice to live, work, and play,” Eisma concluded.
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