HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - About a hundred volunteers collected thousands of cigarette butts at Kakaako Waterfront Park in a monthly beach cleanup that also raised money for the Surfrider Foundation.
The volunteers combing the park Saturday didn't have a hard time finding the butts, whether they were in the grass, between the rocks or in planters. Each butt found helped the Surfrider Foundation.
"The Oahu chapter decided to really focus on cigarette butt litter because that is the most prominent form of litter that we have," said Surfrider Hawaii coordinator Stuart Coleman. "It makes up about a third of everything of all the items that we pick up at every cleanup."
But this time around, an electronic cigarette company pledged to donate money to the foundation for each cigarette butt collected. "Everything that we collect in a donation of five cents per butt, up to $10,000, is our way of showing everybody that this is a big issue," said Scott Rasak of Volcano Electronic Cigarettes.
Carl Phillips counted out his bag, which totaled about a hundred cigarette butts. "These were scattered all over the place in the smoking areas over there," he said.
"I think our parks are ashtrays too, now," said volunteer Mike Knight, standing in line to get his cigarette butts counted. "It seems that people discard whatever they want in our beach parks, and we need to clean them up."
The Surfrider Foundation is hoping that there will be fewer butts found soon, after the Honolulu City Council passed a bill that would ban smoking at south shore beaches. The measure is now undergoing legal review.
"We want to make sure that it's in compliance with all the laws of both the county and the state. Should it pass legal review, I'll sign it into law," said Mayor Kirk Caldwell. he expects that to happen sometime next week.
Volcano said 11,176 cigarette butts were collected in the cleanup. After the count, they decided to up the donation to 50 cents per cigarette. That translated into a $5,588 donation to the Surfrider Foundation.