Lets Do It India, the Indian subdivision of ‘Let’s Do It World‘ organisation, that aims to instill a lasting change in the way solid waste is dumped in India and is relentlessly addressing the need to promote a greater understanding between people and the environment. This world clean-up day, the organisation wanted to highlight the soaring issue of cigarette butt litter and thus launched The Fugitive. The campaign aims to stir awareness around the severe environmental impact of cigarette butts while shifting behaviours to regulate butt litter. The campaign and efforts of Let’s Do It India are supported by a number of names in the market, including Skillex, an educational platform that focuses on the timeless skills that make the world work. Skillex based out of Estonia is not only the campaign’s power sponsor but has also been passionately encouraging the purpose and vision of LDII.
The Not-for profit in collaboration with Tiffin Talks organised a webinar on September 19th, 2020, which is also observed as the World Clean-up Day. The discussion with some eminent panelists hovered around the intensity of toxicity created by cigarette butts and ways to dispose them in a responsible manner.
Lets Do It India (LDII) is working towards educating people on this kind of waste and also encourages people to collect and donate their cigarette buttsto the organization for recycle purposes. The NGO targets to collect about 1 crore cigarette-butts (3 tonnes approx) until the end of 2021.
Commenting on this grave issue, Prof Pankaj Chaudhary, Founder, Lets Do It India, said, “Cigarette butt litter is a pressing concern which needs to be acknowledged and resolved promptly. Several people in our country are unaware of the pollution it creates. Thus, we have stepped forward to drive awareness on this issue under our latest campaign ‘The Fugitive‘. We are working with the government authorities to put a warning on cigarette packets about the toxicity of butts. Additionally, LDII is also in conversation with the largest producer of tobacco in India to raise awareness around this problem of cigarette butts.”
He also added, “Cigarette butts are the real fugitives of our society therefore it’s imperative that apart from having a strong policy framework, we also create a proper disposal mechanism.”
Lets Do It India has also collaborated with Wasted 360 Solutions and Code Effort Pvt. Ltd. to tread forward in the campaign and hosted their Founders Ann Anra and Naman Gupta, respectively, to learn more on the ground reality and ways and means to address challenges around this issue.
LDII has been working extensively on bringing change. The campaign witnessed a widespread awareness and impact throughout the country, covering over 28 states and 6 union territories. Leaving its mark at over 8.64k+ locations, the drive had 5.82+ lakh people joining in for the cause. The non-profit label collected 120+ tonnes of total waste which accounted for over one lakh cigarette butts. It also held digital clean-ups, which further witnessed 1.73+ lakh people participating and cleaning 132048 GB (132.048 TB) of trash. Other initiatives which served as a wakeup call for the people of the nation and contributed to the environment included:
Individual cleanup with 2.61 lakh+ participants collecting 60+ tonne of waste amounting for 75k+ cigarette butts
Small group clean-ups with 1.48 lakh+ participants collecting 50+tonne of waste accounting for 37k+ cigarette butts
Awareness campaign with 3.62k+ people being a part of the change
Awareness sessions on social media with environmentalists and social activists engaging 400+ names across the country
The campaign also saw participation from Allianz Technology with close to 6000+ employees joining the campaign.
Mr. Siim Kiisler, 4th President, UN Environment Assembly, commenting on the occasion said, “Most of us do not realise that cigarette stubs are not biodegradable and pollute nearly 1000 litres of water. Estonia, however, realised the problem and both the politicians and NGOs came together to collaborate and rethink on the design of the product, manufacturing as well as packaging to ensure its environment friendly.”
The webinar also witnessed some thought provoking comments and perspectives from the experts. Mr. Khalid Boudali, Deputy Presiding Officer, ECOSOCC, African Union, quoted, “I insist on holding the tobacco industry responsible. It’s imperative to implement producer-responsibility regulations to reduce, mitigate and prevent manufacturing single-use filters. There is a strong need to stabilize global temperatures and transition towards cleaner energy sources, by reducing energy consumption through policy regulation.”
“All offices and factory plants of Finolex that houses about 3000+ employees now dispose of the cig butts in separate bins as directed by Lets Do It India. We are trying to do our bit as corporates, and as individuals, and are also trying to reach out to other corporates to adopt this way of living,” says Gayatri Prakash Chhabria, Trustee Mukul Madhav Foundation.
The campaign and efforts of Let’s Do It India are supported by a number of names in the market, including Skillex, an educational platform that focuses on the timeless skills that make the world work. Skillex based out of Estonia is not only the campaign’s power sponsor but has also been passionately encouraging the purpose and vision of LDII.
Ms. Supriya Rehil, Director, Projects and Communications, Let’s Do It, India and the lead for the campaign, added, “The response towards our campaigns has been overwhelming and we wish to keep creating ripples of awareness in people while collaborating with like-minded organisations, governments and change leaders.”
Needless to say, we are coexisting with our environment and to prevent and save it from any further damage, both the consumers and producers must come together along with the government and NGOs to mitigate risks. The need of the hour is to form an interconnected web, holding the big sharks accountable and demanding change in conventional ways of making and disposing of cigarette-butt litter.
LDII’s The Fugitive campaign has successfully initiated a dialogue and a step in realigning ourselves in the way we look at cigarette butt waste and the aspects of its correct disposal and treatment. Their endeavor has already started the butterfly effect that will surely bring about the much needed change that our world deserves and requires.