The purpose of this annual event is to educate smokers on responsible ways to dispose of cigarette butts and raise awareness about the negative impacts of cigarette litter on the environment.
“Cigarette butts and other tobacco product waste are the items that are most commonly picked up during urban and beach cleanups worldwide,” according to San Diego State University Public Health professor Thomas Novotny and researcher Elli Slaughter in a recent article published in Current Environmental Health Reports, a scientific journal. “An estimated 4.5 trillion of the annual six trillion cigarettes sold worldwide do not end up in a dustbin or ashtray, but are simply flicked away along a roadside or on a pavement.”
This type of litter is not just found on streets and in urban settings; the number of cigarette butts found on beaches and nearby areas is overwhelming, accounting for approximately 40 percent of the items collected during Surfrider Foundation’s monthly public beach cleanups. Cigarette waste discarded miles inland compounds the problem as it can end up in drains that flow to streams, rivers, bays, lagoons and ultimately the ocean.
HOTYB Awareness Day will consist of volunteer activists gathering on Mission Beach’s busy traffic intersections as people arrive at the beach. Surfrider volunteers will hold signs, pass out pocket ashtrays and stickers to graphically demonstrate the impact that cigarette butts have on our beaches and ocean. Motorists and beach goers will be encouraged to dispose of cigarettes safely and reminded that cigarette butts thrown on the ground can eventually end up in the ocean and affect marine life, including surfers and swimmers.
More information about the Surfrider Foundation San Diego County Chapter and the Hold On To Your Butt program can be found at http://sandiego.surfrider.org/campaigns/hold-on-to-your-butt. Direct any questions about HOTYB Awareness Day to HOTYB@surfridersd.org.