Brit expat on Mallorca vows to end cigarette litter

Published:  7 Aug at 6 PM
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Tagged: Australia
A British expat now living on the Spanish island of Mallorca has started a campaign to rid the streets of litter caused by discarded cigarettes.

It’s not just the mess on the streets that prompted Ben Cattell to turn environmentalist, it was his own careless behaviour whilst living in Australia. After a night of heavy drinking, he’d thrown a cigarette butt from his balcony and gone to bed. Waking up soon after to the sound of sirens, he saw firefighters dousing his next-door neighbour’s shed, set alight by his cigarette.

The next-door house, home to a family with young children, was smoke-filled and the family were scared as they’d been asleep when the fire started. Ben didn’t admit his carelessness had started the fire, but from that moment he began to think seriously about environmental responsibility. Having moved to Mallorca 18 months later as well as stopping smoking, he became aware the island’s stunning beauty was being marred by litter and rubbish, including plastic bottles and cigarette butts.

His annoyance at the way nature was being treated came to a head when he took a trip to the island’s south and saw piles of rubbish spoiling the beauty of the region. Returning to his home village, he determined to take action. Taking a huge bag and filling it with litter, he photographed it and placed the photo on his new instagram account entitled ‘The Litter Bug’. Using discarded plastic bottles, he made containers for used ciggie butts and hung them on trees at beach entrances and near bus stops.

About 30 of the brightly-coloured containers can now be seen along the coastline, and Ben’s planning to total 100 by year end. Emptying the containers and clearing out discarded litter in parks and along beaches now takes him hours every week, and he’s attracted a large online following from across the planet for his efforts. Much loved for slogans such as ‘I’m an ash tree, not an ash tray’, his efforts are intended to inspire everyone to spend at at least an hour a week tidying up their local environment.
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