#1 Villain of the Beach Clean Ups

Caz Tomisson

Caz Tomisson

Dedicated volunteer and secret super hero.

The first villain in our list, yes you guessed it, it’s of course cigarette butts! Cigarette Butts are the most collected item during the beach clean up, by far! Whilst some items are generally found in certain areas of the beach, cigarette butts are found everywhere… And we mean everywhere! We even collect and weigh them separately in order to clearly show how many we find. This, along with the hard work of other clean up groups in Barcelona, the general public, and a strong push from the Town Hall has resulted in a smoking ban being introduced on the beach of Barcelona at the start of the summer 2022.

The Butt of the Joke! 

With this in mind, we believe that if cigarette butts were a villain, there is no doubt that they would be The Joker. 

The Joker is extremely dangerous and will cause harm to those around him until he is incarcerated. He is incapable of stopping himself. From the moment a cigarette butt is left on the beach, to the time it has decomposed (around 10 years), it is a problem for all of those in its path. Seabirds and other creatures that roam the beach or fish and microorganisms in the sea often mistake it as food and eat them causing them irreversible digestive problems. They will not stop until they are safely “caged” in a bin on the side of the beach or in the grey recycling bin. 

The Joker kills in a variety of ways, but his signature move is to poison with venom. Whilst this piece of rubbish also has the ability to kill in a number of ways, it often poisons its victim. Cigarette butts hold a number of toxins in the filter. On its rampage to the sea, it releases these into the rivers affecting anything in its vicinity. It continues to do this in the seas. This in turn means that it also poisons any living creature that swallows it.

Finally, the joker’s manic unpredictability means he can and does appear at any moment. Just when you think he’s been stopped, he returns. This is definitely the way the volunteers feel about picking up the cigarette butts from the beach. Just when you think you have cleared a space of them, you find two more. They decompose at such a slow pace that the ones that do not reach the sea, get buried under the sand. This results in ones that have been hidden for months, resurfacing to cause further damage. The ones in the sea will often lie on the bottom of the oceans for years.

Whilst it’s clear that cigarette butts are “The Joker of the Beach”, please remember that leaving a cigarette butt on Barcelona Beach (or anywhere other than a bin) is no joke! Please always put this villain straight in the bin, wherever you are, before it unleashes its poison on the world.


We are believers of True News, and document where all our information comes from. We feel it is important to recognise those that have given us the knowledge to pass on to our readers – we know we have to, but we would do it all the same! 

You can fact check our information below and/or do further reading on what we have discussed:  

Smoking ban: 



Cigarette butts on beaches: 



Characteristics of the Joker: