Smokers are being urged not to leave cigarette butts on the beach after conservationists found a 157 per cent increase in the number of discarded fag ends littering the shores.
Emma Whitlock, beachcare officer for the Fylde coast, said: “A lot of people I speak to think cigarette butts biodegrade quickly and are relatively small therefore aren’t as bad as other pieces of litter.
“However this isn’t the case. They take up to 12 years to break down.
“Plus the plastic fibres and toxic chemicals can have a damaging effect on marine life as well as spoil the way our beaches look.”
The LOVEmyBEACH campaign is calling for smokers to reconsider their disposal of cigarette butts on the beach as part of their ‘Make Your Memories, Take Your Litter’ campaign.
In 2016 the Marine Conservation Society Great British Beach Clean survey revealed cigarette butts made up 7.6 per cent of all litter found, an increase of 157 per cent from 2015.
Blackpool Sea Life Centre reported a similar proportion of cigarette waste from its litter sweeps.