This summer, the team at askHRgreen.org with support from Keep America Beautiful (KAB) and local volunteers will organize a region-wide campaign to reduce cigarette litter using a proven strategy making an impact all across the country. Funding for this program was made possible by a grant from the KAB Cigarette Litter Prevention Program and proceeds from 2014's inaugural Keep Hampton Roads Beautiful Golf Tournament. In seven project areas across Hampton Roads, the positioning of cigarette waste receptacles combined with positive reminders, education and awareness building will help smokers do the right thing. The askHRgreen.org team will be talking directly with smokers, encouraging them to be mindful of their disposal habits and offering them a pocket ashtray or auto ashtray that fits right into the cup holder of their vehicle. Look for more updates from across the region as local leaders head up targeted projects in the following places:
Research from KAB and the Ocean Conservancy reveal that cigarette butts are the most littered item in Virginia, the United States and across the world. Cigarette butts account for over a third of all litter collected from roadways, recreation areas and storm drains. And cigarette butts are not biodegradable. There is a common misconception that cigarette filters will break down quickly but they are actually made of a plastic material that lasts a long time. Littered cigarette butts also get carried through storm drains to local wetlands and waterways where they are especially harmful to animals, birds or fish.
If you smoke, please dispose of cigarette butts in their proper receptacles. Carry a portable ashtray when you are on-the-go or find an ash receptacle for disposal. And never throw butts out a car window. You can join the conversation about cigarette litter in Hampton Roads by sending a tweet to @HRGreen using #NoCigaretteLitterNow. For more information about how you can help, visit http://askhrgreen.org/cigarette-litter.