ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Boaters are being urged to keep their butts out of the water — not the flabby ones hidden in over-sized swim trunks — the ones at the end of cigarettes.
The BoatUS Foundation says that the 43 marinas that participated in its 2010 Cigarette Litter Prevention Program saw an amazing 63 percent average reduction in the amount of cigarette litter — which ultimately would have ended up in the water.
Now, the boating safety and clean water non-profit is looking for more marinas to join its 2011 program, and time is of the essence. Marinas have until May 2 to apply at www.BoatUS.com/foundationcigarettesurvey. If selected, marinas will receive funds to cover the cost of ash receptacles and a supply of portable ashtrays.
In partnership with Keep America Beautiful and with funding from Phillip Morris USA, the program provides each marina with a cash grant to purchase the cigarette ash receptacles and a supply of portable ashtrays for use on boats. Marinas are asked to install the receptacles, distribute the portable ashtrays, and educate their customers about the importance of proper disposal.
“When a cigarette butt is discarded at a marina, there is a fair chance it will find its way into the water,” said Susan Shingledecker, the BoatUS Foundation’s director of environmental programs. “Many people assume butts are made from paper that will break down over time, and don’t think of them as litter. However, cigarette filters are plastic and when tossed overboard or washed into storm drains, creeks and waterways they can last for decades resulting in an unsightly mess and harming fish and other wildlife.”
Some comments from last year’s marina participants include: “The receptacles (provided by the program) make an attractive addition to our trash receptacles at the head of each ramp … the volume of butts in the can is three times that of those first counted on the ground around the location. This leads me to believe that previously the other two-thirds was just being tossed into the marina.”
Another said, “It’s a very good feeling to empty the cigarette receptacles and see large numbers of cigarette butt waste that would have otherwise been flicked into the lake.”
The BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water is a national leader promoting safe, clean and responsible boating. Funded primarily by the half-million members of BoatUS, it provides innovative educational outreach directly to boaters and anglers with the aim of reducing accidents and fatalities, increasing stewardship of America’s waterways and keeping boating safe for all. To make a tax-deductible donation to this 501(c)(3) nonprofit, go to www.BoatUS.com/foundation.