On May 6th I participated in a Canada wide event to clean up cigarette butts called the Butt Blitz.
The organized clean up started with a group in Toronto called A Greener Future. They promote environmental preservation by bringing together communities at events like the Butt Blitz as well as local lake clean-ups. This year, there were over 200,000 cigarette butts picked up by volunteers! This is a significant number for 3 hours of collecting but in my opinion is nowhere near enough to combat the amount thrown on the ground each year.
I hosted the Butt Blitz in Coquitlam and we collected around 6,000 butts. My group didn’t cover as much ground as I expected because we spent the majority of our time cleaning up 1 bus station. The best part of hosting this clean-up was amount of people who expressed their appreciation for what we were doing. Almost all smokers I spoke to were receptive to taking and using the pocket ashtrays provided by The Brain Garden.
Events like these are a very valuable, as they create awareness for community members about this issue and it gives them the opportunity to participate in their own way. Until you are tasked with collecting cigarette butt litter from the streets, it’s difficult to grasp how easily these meager pieces of garbage build into something that is harming our local environment.