As our volunteers know all too well, cigarette butts are a huge litter problem here in San Diego and the most common item we pick up at cleanup events. Earlier this month, we were excited to receive first place honors for our Cigarette Litter Prevention Program during Keep America Beautiful’s 60th anniversary National Conference in Washington, DC!
The CLPP works to reduce cigarette litter by raising awareness about the issue, placing ash receptacles in places where people commonly gather to smoke, such as entrances to public buildings and busy street corners, and distributing pocket ashtrays to smokers.
Defeating cigarette butt litter is a huge undertaking, and we couldn’t do it without our strong partnerships with local businesses, community organizations and the San Diego Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation. Working together has allowed us to significantly reduce the flow of cigarette butts into storm drains and eventually to the ocean.
To give you a quick glance at the impact the CLPP has had here in San Diego, here are a few stats from local areas where the program is currently in place:
In La Jolla, CLPP ashcans collect an average of 31 butts per day. Volunteers collected 11,708 butts from 10 ashcans in a 3 month time period and have seen a 34% decrease in littered cigarette butts in that area.
In Point Loma, more than 800 cigarette butts were collected from 6 ashcans in the first month after installation. We’ve seen a 58% decrease in littered cigarette butts in that area.
In La Mesa, one of our most recent expansion areas, we’ve seen an 84% decrease in cigarette butt litter and the ashcans collect an average of 180 cigarette butts per ashcan, per month. That’s a total of 3,800 in 3 months.
In North Park we’ve seen 24% decrease in cigarette butt litter and in Oceanside a 74% decrease in cigarette butt litter in target area.
In addition to being recognized for our CLPP, ILACSD has a long history with Keep America Beautiful dating back to the 1960’s. ILACSD, which back then was the War Against Litter Committee, received many honors from KAB in the 60’s before becoming part of the KAB Affiliate network in the 1970’s. Keep America Beautiful is best known for their “Crying Indian” PSA which first aired on Earth Day in 1971 and featured American Indian actor, Iron Eyes Cody.
In case you weren’t around back then, or just want a reminder of this little gem, here’s the full PSA for your viewing pleasure: