‘Stop using out my back as a giant ashtray!’ - Derry pensioner’s plea

Some of the cigarette butts discarded to the rear of the woman's home.
Some of the cigarette butts discarded to the rear of the woman's home.

A Derry pensioner has issued a plea for people to stop using the yard to the rear of her home as a “giant ashtray.”

The Glenabbey Drive resident said that she has already tried to have the ongoing problem at her flats complex in the estate resolved, but people have continued to discard their cigarette butts under her kitchen window.

The woman, who is in her early 70s, said despite having Arthritis in her legs she has to regularly go and sweep up the small area beneath her own kitchen window. She is also worried that a lit cigarette butt could pose a fire risk.

“I have spoken to the Housing Association about this recently and the Housing Officer came out and she looked at the messs. Her words were, ‘Okay we will do what we can to sort this out, we will send letters out to everybody’. I don’t know if those involved got letters or even if they listened, but it’s still going on.

“I’m the age I am. I’m over 70 and I’ve got a disability. I shouldn’t have to go outside to sweep up cigarette butts that aren’t mine. I don’t smoke or anything. To sweep up somebody else’s butts is not on. Two weeks ago I spent half an hour sweeping up the butts and putting them into the bin. Two weeks ago there wasn’t one cigarette butt out there.

“The thing is,” she added, “is I don’t know who is doing it.

“I would just love people to show a bit of consideration and start using their own ashtrays.

“I feel like buying ashtrays and leaving them outside all their places and saying to them ‘use this and stop throwing it out my back’. This could be a fire hazard.

“On a hot day, when the weather was good, I opened the window but had to close it, the stench of tobacco was unbelievable.

“I also stood out there in the yard and shouted at the top of my voice - something out of character for me, I don’t do it - ‘Stop using my back as a giant ashtray!’

“I pride myself on keeping the place clean and I don’t trouble anybody. It’s a quiet enough street and nobody bothers you. I don’t like complaining about all this.”

The woman said she would like the Housing Association to make sure that the problem is resolved once and for all.

A spokesperson for Radius Housing, the housing association which manages Glenabbey Drive, said it was making efforts to ensure that such matters are dealt with.

The Radius Housing spokesperson responded: “Our housing officers are working with all tenants to ensure that any instances of littering do not occur in the future and that all areas are kept clean and tidy.”