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Cigarette Butt Sweep



Sustainable Coastlines decided to tackle the pervasive problem of littered cigarette butts. With guidance from the Ocean Conservancy and help from Keep America Beautiful, Surfrider, and others we now have a plan implemented to see if we can make a difference on our coastlines relating to cigarette butts.

Lots of tourists were asking what we were doing, education is a huge part of what needs to be done. Here is Louise explaining to some visitors.

The plan is as follows, we scan a certain part of the beach for cigarette butts. We decided that from the concession stands to the Banyan Tree at Kuhio Beach Park would be a great project area. Waikiki Beach is barraged by tourists year round and probably has the highest amount of traffic on all beaches statewide.

We broke the beach into three parts. From the street to the lava rock wall, lava rock wall to mid beach, and mid beach to water line. Then we all teamed up together to scan the circular area surrounding the Banyan Tree since so many people hang out there getting pooped on by pigeons.

Once the scan is complete, we install signage and ash trays. Currently there are none. We also are giving the beach boys cigarette butt holders (portable ash trays). Then a few weeks later we will scan again, and then again a few weeks after that.

The goal is to see whether an informational campaign (signs) and ashtrays can have a reduction on cigarette butt litter.

Personally I prefer the route of Bill 72 introduced by Stanley Chang. It is a call to ban smoking on beaches specifically adding from Kapiolani Park to Ala Moana, the highest trafficked beaches in the state other than Hanauma Bay which already has a ban that has done wonders for the quality of the beach and the marine ecosystem.

Check this link to here what they had to say at the meeting, it’s only a quick snippet but gets down to the base. (http://www.hawaiipublicradio.org/content/waikiki-smoking-ban-advances-honolulu-city-council)

In conclusion, for our first round up of cigarette butts on the beach we had:

  • zone 1 – 501 butts
  • zone 2 – 235 butts
  • zone 3 – 493 butts
  • zone 4 – 519 butts
  • TOTAL – 1,748 butts

All found in just one hour with 11 volunteers. Big thanks to all those that came out to help.

On another front, we are also helping researcher Dr. Magnus Engwell as he attempts to find out whether marine debris plastic is absorbing chemicals like pesticides, fertalizers, and other compounds that can then be ingested by animals. Its the start of the biomagnification process and to have hard evidence to prove this idea will be a great start to addressing those making these products and getting them to find an alternative. Subscribe to keep in touch with what is happening regarding this project.

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