This challenge has spread to the Blue Flag French beaches.
The idea is simple: you collect the cigarette butts that you find in nature and fill a bottle with them. This challenge initiated at the beginning of August by a French student on Twitter immediately went viral on social media and became an international concern. The “Fill the bottle challenge” requests citizens’ involvement to preserve the environment and raises awareness about cigarette butts’ impact on our ecosystem.
Since August, 6th, The French city of Torreilles encourages residents and tourists to take up the challenge. The city is part of the second French region with the most Blue Flag awarded sites, a region where other Blue Flag beaches launched the challenge too.
Each second, 137 000 cigarette butts are thrown out on the ground worldwide. Even though we know that they take between 12 and 25 years to decompose, several thousands of cigarette butts end up in seas and oceans each year. Thus undersea species are endangered by people discarding their cigarettes without a second thought, given that one and only cigarette butt can pollute 5000 litres of water.
The results of the challenge are impressive, but it is bittersweet as cigarette butts are the most littered item around the world. You should be surprised by how many never get collected. Unfortunately, you can gather them for a few minutes and you will be sure your bottle will be full. This is why the most important message is to educate the smokers to dispose of their cigarette butts in an environmentally safe way. Blue Flag and the city of Torreilles are also working towards this education, for a longer sustainable impact on the future.
The #FillTheBottle challenge taking place in Torreilles is such a good action to preserve the environment. Nevertheless, people have to make sure that they don’t throw away the bottle the same way the cigarette butts have been tossed out! That is why they are all collected by the tourism office in exchange for a hat of the city.
By taking up the challenge, the city of Torreilles proves its engagement for the planet and gives an example of an action preserving beaches, seas and oceans from pollution. This is another guarantee to find Blue Flag beaches clean!