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Tuesday, May 21, 2019
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June 13 - Coastal Georgia Cigarette Litter Prevention Effort Underway

Category: Local Govts & Politics

Savannah Business Journal Staff Report

June 13, 2018 - Entities in Georgia’s six coastal counties have joined together to battle the nation’s number one most littered item: cigarette butts. Providing comprehensive coverage of Georgia’s coastal area, Tybee Clean Beach Volunteers, the City of Tybee Island, Keep Savannah Beautiful, Keep McIntosh Beautiful, Keep Camden Beautiful, UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant, Keep Golden Isles Beautiful, Keep Liberty Beautiful, Fort McAllister State Park and Crooked River State Park have 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 $15,000 Keep America Beautiful cigarette litter prevention program grant, the three-month initiative consists of cigarette waste receptacle and signage placement, radio public service announcements, social media promotion, educational video development, business signage placement, drink coaster outreach and pocket/car ash tray distribution. A total of 81 cigarette receptacles will be placed and educational outreach provided in public spaces near coastal water bodies of varying types. 

While simultaneous project-specific outreach activities will occur in all six coastal counties during the June-August effort, community-specific outreach activities are encouraged as well.

“Cigarette litter is polluting our beaches and water ways.  Working with all of Georgia’s coastal communities, we can make a difference,” said City of Tybee City Manager Shawn Gillen. “With the help of the Tybee Clean Beach Volunteers and the Tybee Beach Ambassadors, we can make a positive impact on Georgia’s coast and demonstrate that a collective effort can set an example for other coastal communities around the nation to follow.”

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