As South Florida residents, we enjoy many blessings. And beautiful, fun beaches that we can frequent pretty much year round ranks high up the list. How many times have you been enjoying a family day at the beach, only to see that the sand your children are playing in is full of dirty, toxic cigarette butts? It happens daily to beach goers all over the world, including South Florida families.
According to cigarettelitter.org, “It is estimated that several trillion cigarette butts are littered worldwide every year. That’s billions of cigarettes flicked, one at a time, on our sidewalks, beaches, nature trails, gardens, and other public places every single day. In fact, cigarettes are the most littered item in America and the world. Cigarette filters are made of cellulose acetate tow, NOT COTTON, and they can take decades to degrade. Not only does cigarette litter ruin even the most picturesque setting, but the toxic residue in cigarette filters is damaging to the environment, and littered butts cause numerous fires every year, some of them fatal.”
In Broward County (and many other places, of course), the American Lung Association, TOUCH, and concerned citizen volunteers are tackling this grave issue by performing monthly “Beach Sweeps” to collect and dispose of cigarette butts littering our beautiful beaches. And it’s always jaw-dropping to see just how many cigarette butts can be collected in just a few hours by small group of volunteers! Take a look at a video of a recent Hollywood Beach Cleanup, and some pictures below. Please check out the TOUCH Events Calendar for Dates and Locations for the next Beach Sweeps!