February 14, 2014

Cigarette Butts get the Boot!

Local SOS Beachkeeper Takes Action Against Cigarette Butt Litter

Sienna White Gets Bait Tanks Installed near Pleasure Point

SOS announces the installation of cigarette butt receptacles along the Pleasure Point walkway.  These three receptacles, called “Bait Tanks” were installed because of one very determined SOS Beachkeeper who has collected thousands of cigarette butts in the area.  Cigarette butts are the number one trash item collected at beach and river cleanups worldwide, this simple solution can have a large impact on our trash stream making its way into the ocean.  

Sienna White is a SOS Sanctuary Steward and SOS Beachkeeper who decided to take the problem of the overwhelming amount of cigarette butt litter into her own hands.  Every week from March to December she walked the Pleasure Point to The Hook pathway and picked up over 4,400 cigarette butts!  The record amount was 174 in just one day. Her reflection on her work has been eye-opening, "Cigarette butts are so common people don't see them anymore. I would like to challenge everyone to look down on the ground, anywhere that people go, for five minutes and you will see the source of my inspiration.”

SOS volunteers have collected over 466,000 cigarette butts since 2007.  The average amount of cigarette butts per cleanup has gone from 430 in 2012 to 290 in 2013 showing a large decrease in recent months.  With more and more smoking bans and Bait Tanks being installed around town, we can predict that this number will continue to fall.  “We are so grateful for our volunteers like Sienna who are helping us work on the problem of cigarette butt litter. We thank our community for using these Bait Tanks to help address this most pervasive form of litter,” says Laura Kasa, Executive Director of SOS.

These Bait Tanks have been shown to be very effective.  In 2011, SOS installed 18 Bait Tanks in Santa Cruz and Capitola and monitored the amount of cigarette butt litter before and after the installation.  On average in Santa Cruz, there was a 70% decrease in littered butts in our 9 monitored locations and an 80% decrease in our 9 Capitola monitored locations.  We hope this example of strong citizen action and creating change will spread throughout our community. 

For more information, please contact Laura Kasa, Executive Director at Save Our Shores at (917) 664-7066 or lkasa@saveourshores.org.  You can always find us on the web at www.saveourshores.org.

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