Reducing Cigarette Litter
Cigarette Butts are the #1 Littered Item Around the World
Save Our Shores staff and volunteers have removed over 343,000 cigarette butts during beach and river cleanups bordering the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary since April, 2007.
Outraged by the persistence of this #1 littered item, we decided to tackle this pollution problem with a new force, and began working with both the Cities of Santa Cruz and Capitola to identify high traffic smoking areas in need of cigarette receptacles. We then placed 18 stainless steel cigarette receptacles, called BaitTanks, at the Santa Cruz Wharf, on Beach Street in Santa Cruz, along the Capitola Esplanade, and at Capitola Beach. Additional BaitTanks have recently be placed on the Monterey Wharf and beyond.
Marine health, not human health, is the target of this anti-cigarette campaign.
We are currently working with the City of Santa Cruz on a rebate program to help fund businesses interested in purchasing a BaitTank.
Did you know you can report littered cigarette butts in Monterey County through the quick and easy online forms at Keep Monterey County Clean?
The success of the BaitTanks is incredible!
Within a few months of installation, the BaitTanks have decreased cigarette butt litter by an average of 50-70%! On the Santa Cruz Wharf, a 60-77% decrease in littered cigarette butts has been reported where the first BaitTanks were installed, and in Capitola, a 43-60% decrease has been reported.
This is incredible news in the pollution prevention world and were working hard to get more BaitTanks installed around the Sanctuary. Funding them is the main hurdle. Calls have been coming in from business owners and concerned citizens requesting a BaitTank in their area. If you're interested in stemming the tide of cigarette butt litter, consider funding a BaitTank for your community. Contact Brad@saveourshores.org learn more.
Save Our Shores will continue to target problematic pollution in our community and develop ways to combat it.
> The Bait Tanks are large steel boxes with a shark fin on top that say: "Save some Fish. Feed me butts."
Cigarette filters and left over tobacco contain a variety of heavy metals and organic compounds that create acute toxicity in the marine environment, making cigarette litter a clear and present danger to the success of the recently-established Marine Protected Areas along the Central Coast of California, as well as our oceans worldwide.
The inventor of the BaitTanks is Mark Armen. Mark's background in recycling led him to the realization that recycling doesn't work for everything, and especially for the little things. After a lot of research and thought, he created the company Gulpable to get his BaitTanks out into the world. Beginning in Santa Cruz, Capitola, and Santa Monica, placement of Mark's BaitTanks has only just begun.
For more information on Mark's work, visit gulpable.com or thebaittank.com.
Check out this short film, It Starts With Me, inspired by one woman's battle against cigarette litter, featuring Mark Armen and the BaitTanks.
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