Welsh artist Nathan Wyburn has created a portrait of Sir David Attenborough out of cigarette butts collected from beaches across Wales.

The Britain's Got Talent finalist was commissioned to design the piece for No Smoking Day by the charity ASH Wales, in an effort to raise awareness of environmental damage caused by the littering of cigarette butts.

The cigarette butts used in the artwork were collected from Welsh beaches Credit: ASH Wales

This year we want to use No Smoking Day as an opportunity to raise awareness of the environmental impact of cigarette butts and there is a very serious message behind Nathan Wyburn’s portrait.

Suzanne Cass - CEO of ASH Wales
Credit: PA Images

are aware that cigarettes contain plastic

A survey carried out by the charity Keep Wales Tidy found that 1 in 10 smokers do not consider cigarette butts litter, and less than 50% know that they contain plastic at all.

ASH Wales says non-biodegradable plastic and toxic chemicals in cigarette filters pose a pollution risk and endangers wildlife.

Sir David Attenborough, who has been an advocate in protecting marine life from plastic pollution, described plastic filled cigarette butts as 'toxic soup' to our oceans.

How do cigarette butts affect the environment?

  • The plastic within cigarette butts can stay in the environment for up to 15 years.

  • The butts contain toxic chemicals such as arsenic, lead and nicotine that can pollute waterways.

  • The residue from tobacco can cause harm to animals if ingested.

  • According to ASH Wales, one cigarette butt left in water for 96 hours can release enough toxins to kill 50% of fish that are exposed to it.

(Source: ASH Wales)