For the sixth consecutive year, entities in Georgia’s six coastal counties are continuing a joint battle against the nation’s number one most littered item: cigarette butts. Providing comprehensive coverage of Georgia’s coastal area, Keep Liberty Beautiful, Keep Savannah Beautiful, Keep McIntosh Beautiful, Keep Camden Beautiful, Keep Pembroke Beautiful, Tybee Clean Beach Volunteers, the City of Tybee Island, University of Georgia Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant, and Keep Golden Isles Beautiful have again united in a coast-wide cigarette litter awareness educational initiative: Georgia’s Coast is Not an Ashtray.
Made of cellulose acetate, a type of plastic, cigarette butts do not easily biodegrade. Discarded butts have a negative impact as land litter, but once blown into storm drains or tossed directly into water sources, this toxic litter becomes marine debris, leaching chemicals into marine and aquatic environments and potentially being ingested by those inhabitants. With coastal Georgia’s proximity to the Atlantic Ocean as well as its abundance of streams, rivers, lakes, creeks, salt and freshwater marshes, and ponds, the coast-wide initiative focuses on cigarette butts in relation to water bodies.
Funded by a $20,000 Keep America Beautiful cigarette litter prevention program grant, the latest initiative consists of cigarette waste receptacle placement, radio public service announcements, social media/video promotion, educational outreach, and messaged drink coaster outreach. The combined five-year effort has resulted in over 600 public space receptacles placed in coastal Georgia.
“We are excited to continue the joining of forces across Georgia’s coastal region in addressing cigarette litter,” says KMB Executive Director Tracy Sanford. “This initiative is a great way to bring attention to the harm cigarette litter does and the importance of proper disposal to keep this type of pollution out of our beautiful waters.”