KBB: Grant would keep butts off the landscape

Volunteers quickly needed to count litter

The director of Keep Blair Beautiful has an immediate opening for volunteers willing to count cigarette butts.

Katrina Pope, education and enforcement coordinator for the Intermunicipal Relations Com­mittee, of which KBB is an initiative, wants to apply for a Cigarette Litter Prevention Program grant, but she doesn’t have the time to do the repeated butt counts that would be required.

The deadline to apply for the grant to Keep America Beautiful is today, so Pope needs quick commitments, she told attendees at a KBB meeting Wednesday.

The KAB program usually provides money for butt receptacles, but to get those funds requires a baseline count of butts on the ground at locations where the receptacles will go, followed by multiple counts of butts after those receptacles have been placed, to determine how effective the placements were, Pope said.

The receptacles are often set out at bus stops and in parks, but sometimes business owners will accept them, she said.

Such business owners might be willing to do the required counts, but volunteers are necessary for the public sites, Pope said.

The program includes an educational component, she said.

The program actually focuses on keeping butts from waterways and the oceans, according to a flyer from KAB.

Tactics include review of local littering laws and support for enforcement of those laws; public service messages about proper disposal of butts; proper placement of butt receptacles; distribution of pocket ashtrays.

The program has been put into practice in 1,700 communities and has consistently cut cigarette litter in half, based on counts taken at intervals during the four to six months after implementation, the flyer stated.

It’s been a couple of years since KBB has obtained a cigarette litter grant, Pope said.

Cigarette butts seem to be in a special category, such that smokers who wouldn’t throw a candy wrapper on the ground feel free to dispose of their butts by simply flinging them away.

That was illustrated by a recent interaction during an event that Pope attended as part of her environmental work.

A child there asked, “Are cigarette butts litter”?

“Yes,” Pope stated emphatically at the meeting.

Mirror Staff Writer William Kibler is at 949-7038.

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