A popular program that aims to address cigarette butt litter has made its way to the Channel Islands Harbor and neighboring beaches.
The Surfrider Foundation program, Hold On To Your Butt, aims to eliminate cigarette butt litter and pollution because of the impact on beaches and the ocean. Volunteers install cigarette butt ash cans in coastal areas and periodically visit to empty them.
View this post on Instagram
According to the Surfrider Foundation, cigarette butt litter is the most common form of litter found in beach cleanups and the filters in the butts are made from plastic. This litter is dangerous to marine life; birds and fish accidentally ingest it thinking it is food and the hazardous chemicals from one butt contaminates two gallons of seawater, making it lethal to small marine life like crustaceans. Unfortunately, cigarette butts have become an almost socially acceptable form of litter.
Surfrider Foundation Ventura County Chapter volunteer Juli Marciel said the Hold On To Your Butt campaign has installed 88 cigarette butt ash cans in Ventura and 22 in Port Hueneme. Since 2016, the local Surfrider Foundation chapter has collected more than 555,000 cigarette butts through the Hold On To Your Butt program and through beach clean up days.
“Our goal is to get as many of the cigarette butts out of the environment as possible and also to tell people, if you are going to smoke, please dispose of your cigarette butt responsibly,” Marciel said.
This month cigarette butt cannisters are being strategically installed at high traffic areas at the Harbor and nearby beaches to eliminate cigarette butts from being thrown on the ground. Areas include Channel View Park, Kiddie Beach, Silver Strand Beach, Channel Islands Sportfishing, and local marinas.
Marciel and a team of volunteers are busy installing the ash cans in high traffic areas but would like to see more installed in the future.
Ventura County Harbor Department Director Michael Tripp said he’s pleased to partner with the Surfrider Foundation Ventura County Chapter.
“I appreciate the Surfrider Foundation choosing the Channel Islands Harbor for this program. These cans will help smokers do the right thing, and keep dangerous pollutants out of our ocean waters,” Director Tripp said.
How You Can Help
Community ashcans reduce cigarette butt litter and improve the quality of business districts for residents and visitors. The ashcans are affixed above the ground in high foot-traffic locations. All cigarette butts collected in the ashcans are recycled through Terracycle.
Your business, organization or family can become a “local partner” by sponsoring a Community Ash Can and immediately improve our community. Your sponsorship will help reduce the impact of cigarette butt litter on our oceans, waves, and beaches. You will be recognized on Surfrider Foundation’s website and through other media outlets for your contribution to our community.
Click here for details on sponsoring an ashcan!
Editor's Note: this story was published on May 16, 2022.