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San Diego Environmental Orgs Join Forces to Kick Butts throughout Mission Hills

DATE 12/11/13

Contact: Dukes Wooters
Surfrider Foundation, San Diego County Chapter
Phone: 610-316-8391

Contact: Morgan Justice-Black
I Love A Clean San Diego
Phone: 619-890-4154

San Diego Environmental Orgs Join Forces to Kick Butts throughout Mission Hills

SAN DIEGO, CA – Local groups I Love A Clean San Diego and the Surfrider Foundation San Diego County Chapter are teaming up to combat cigarette butts plaguing the community.

On Tuesday, December 17, at 4pm volunteers from both orgs will join the Mission Hills Town Council at the Regal Beagle, 3659 India St #101, San Diego, CA 92103, to install seven ashcan receptacles throughout popular business districts in Mission Hills. The groups estimate these containers will collect roughly 2,000 cigarette butts each month – helping to keep the Mission Hills community free of the toxic debris. This installation is one of many heralded by I Love A Clean San Diego’s Cigarette Litter Prevention Program and the Surfrider Foundation’s Hold Onto Your Butt Campaign. In its first year alone, the project is expected to prevent close to 25,000 cigarette butts from reaching the ocean.

In order to place ash receptacles where they will be most useful, I Love A Clean San Diego and the Surfrider Foundation volunteers conducted litter scans throughout Mission Hills. Approximately 500 cigarette butts were found in the proposed installation locations. Volunteers noted locations with high incidents of cigarette litter included bus stops, bars, coffee shops and other establishments where customers tend to linger outside.

The Cigarette Litter Prevention Program and Hold Onto Your Butt Campaign take a proactive approach to stopping the flow of cigarette litter from sidewalks to storm drains and eventually out to the ocean. In San Diego County, cigarette litter has been identified as the most pervasive pollution problem. The Surfrider Foundation reports cigarette butts accounted for 40% of the items removed from local beaches during its 2012 cleanups. (That is approximately 74,000 butts!) In a recent cleanup at the Old Town Transit Center, volunteers collected over 12,000 cigarette butts in 90 minutes. This problem is not exclusive to San Diego. The California Coastal Commission reports 36% of debris removed during its annual California Coastal Cleanup Day are cigarette butts and other smoking related items.

The Surfrider Foundation and I Love A Clean San Diego have collaborated to fight the problem in other San Diego communities, including Mission Beach, Pacific Beach, La Jolla, Point Loma, La Mesa, North Park and Oceanside. A recent installment of seven ashcans in La Mesa resulted in the collection of more than 3,800 cigarette butts in just the first three months. The Surfrider Foundation has also worked with state parks and community groups to install receptacles in the communities of Ocean Beach, Hillcrest, Downtown, Carlsbad State Beach, South Carlsbad State Beach and San Elijo State Beach. To date, the two organizations have installed more than 200 ashcans in San Diego County.

For more information on the December 17 installation in Mission Hills, please contact Surfrider Foundation Hold On To Your Butt committee leader, Dukes Wooters at or 610-316-8391, or I Love A Clean San Diego Director of Development and Marketing, Morgan Justice-Black at or 619-890-4154.