Motorists who flick cigarette butts out of car windows are being slapped with $100 fines.
The Auckland Council has issued more than 175 fines for littering since August 2010 in response to calls to an 0800 IN THE BIN hotline. Of those infringements, 154 people paid the $100 fine, five people contested the penalty and 22 were withdrawn.
Auckland Council spokesman Benedict Collins said about 95 per cent of the paid fines were for cigarettes. Environmental group Care For Our Coast recently calculated 35,000 butts go into Auckland's Hauraki Gulf each day.
It is an offence under the Litter Act 1979 to drop rubbish in a public place or on private land.
Cleaning up litter and dumped rubbish costs Auckland about $6 million a year.
From November 1, people caught littering more than once could be slapped with a $400 fine under a new system approved by the Auckland Council's regulatory and bylaws committee this month.
People who want to report litterers should provide details such as a vehicle registration, location and time, type of rubbish and description of the person. The complainants also get a choice of sending the offender a $100 fine or a warning. If the complainant opts for the fine, they have to be willing to sign an affidavit if it is challenged.
The Auckland Council sends infringements to registered owners of vehicles.
Sarah Moore, 35, said she did not hesitate to dob in motorists. Moore and her partner have informed the Auckland Council of about six motorists who threw cigarette butts on to the road. "Every car has an ashtray in it. I don't understand why people don't use it," Moore said.
Sustainable Coastlines co-founder Sam Judd encouraged community policing and backed the $400 fine for repeat offenders.