January 23, 2014

Assembly Bill 1504 Aims to Ban Cigarette Butts in California

Local Assemblymember Mark Stone leads the charge

Save Our Shores (SOS), the leader in ocean awareness, advocacy and action on the Central Coast, announced their support for newly introduced AB 1504.  This legislation would protect wildlife and preserve California’s coast and waterways by banning cigarette butts. This bill could curb the influx of cigarette butts on our beaches, in our streets and in our waterways.  Save Our Shores has been working to raise awareness about the amount of cigarette butts found in our local waterways and the problem is still at large.

“Cigarette filters leach dangerous chemicals into the environment, kill animals that eat them, and cause communities to spend millions of taxpayer dollars for clean-up,” said Stone. “California has many laws in place to curtail cigarette litter, but people continue to illegally discard tons of cigarette butts each year.  The current laws aren’t sufficient to address this major problem.”

Save Our Shores has been analyzing data on this problem since 2007 and has not seen a significant decrease in cigarette butt litter despite outreach efforts.  Even with the threat of citations for littering or bans of smoking cigarettes in local areas, cigarette butts are still persistent in community.  Cigarette butts are made of 95% plastic and take 2-5 years to decompose, so this is not an item that will easily go away.

“Our volunteers have collected over 466,000 cigarette butts in our clean ups just around the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary alone since 2007,” said Laura Kasa, Executive Director of Save Our Shores. “This is by far the most pervasive type of litter in our environment. Our community has attempted to educate the public about the dangers of this toxic litter but it has not made a significant dent in the problem. I commend Assemblymember Stone's creative approach to this issue. It is time for bold action.”

During his first term in the Assembly, Stone has emerged as a leader on environmental protection.  Mark has fought to curb illegal coastal development, reduce plastic pollution, and clean up drinking water supplies. In his capacity as Chair of the Select Committee on Coastal Protection, he has held hearings investigating threats to the Pacific Ocean, oil spill prevention efforts, and plastic garbage effects on the coastal environment.

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