As part of our ongoing Plastic Action campaign, in 2019 the Greenprint Forum commissioned a Yellow Fish campaign run by Groundwork East to raise awareness, through the message of “Only Rain Down the Drain”, that most surface water drains (e.g. the gullies, gutters and drains along the sides of public roads) are only designed to carry rainwater, and as such usually connect directly to natural watercourses which ultimately lead to the ocean. This is unlike the foul water system, which feeds into sewage treatment works.
This means it is particularly important to ensure that we are all careful never to allow our waste or litter to end up on our pavements and roads as it can make its way into the surface water drainage system and end up in our rivers and on our beaches, contaminating watercourses and risking harm to aquatic life.
Cigarette butts are the most common form of littering - in a survey carried out in Lowestoft in July 2018, 53% of all litter was smoking-related waste, mostly cigarette butts. As well as harmful plastic, cigarette butts contain toxic chemical ingredients including arsenic, lead and nicotine which can all be released when the butts break up in the environment.
Litter and waste generated whilst out and about – including cigarette ends, wipes, and cotton buds, as well as food and drinks wrappers and containers, should always be placed in a litter bin when you have finished with them, or if there is no litter bin, taken home and disposed of via the domestic bins.
Our Yellow Fish campaign was funded by the former East Suffolk Partnership, the Suffolk Coast & Heaths AONB, the charity Sea Changers, and the Alfred Williams Charitable Trust.