HOTYB: Hold On To Your Butt
For the last six years, the Vancouver Island Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation has been holding monthly beach cleanups at different beaches along the South coast of Vancouver Island. A wide variety of debris is gathered at cleanups; however, cigarette butts dominate shoreline survey results at urban cleanups. They are repeatedly the number one type of debris gathered (by count).
Cigarette butts are also found littering streets, sidewalks and public spaces. These butts not only pose a waste management challenge for local governments financially and logistically, they also can find there way to the marine environment, as run off in storm drains. In the marine environment, they pose a threat to marine life and a health and safety risk to individuals.
Environmental impact of cigarette butts:
- 4.95 trillion cigarette butts are disposed of in our environment annually
- Cigarette butts leach toxins when wet posing a threat to marine life
- Cigarette butts take up to 25 years to decompose
- Cigarette butts pose a significant fire threat
- Litter clean up costs the U.S. over 11 billion annually
In fall of 2013, Surfrider Vancouver Island launched its Hold On To Your Butt Campaign (HOTYB) in the neighborhood of Fernwood, by holding a street cleanup of cigarette butts. Over 3,000 butts were collected in a six-block radius, within an hour by 10 volunteers. Building off the success of this cleanup and other HOTYB Surfrider Chapter campaigns on the West Coast, Surfrider Vancouver Island is developing a broad HOYTB campaign to address this chronic local issue.
Hold On To Your Butt