In an effort to alleviate cigarette butt litter, Keep Golden Isles Beautiful is working on a two-month long event on the coast of Georgia.

Keep Golden Isles Beautiful, along with five other counties in Georgia, are hosting a project entitled “Georgia’s Coast is not an Ashtray.” The project will take place from June to August and involves the six counties in Georgia that border the Atlantic Ocean in hopes to eliminate cigarette butts from beaches, storm drains and water sources. People might think that cigarette butts are not as harmful to the environment as other littered items, such as plastic, but there is more harmful material in a cigarette than people often realize. For instance, the cellulose acetate found in cigarettes makes them difficult to biodegrade.

As cigarette butts move from shorelines to the ocean, they pass through marine and aquatic environments and ultimately become marine debris. Cigarette butts not only harm marine life, the toxins from the cigarettes can end up in our drinking water, thereby harming humans. And we know that if cigarette butts end up in Georgia’s lakes, they  they can damage the lakes and also get released into the Atlantic Ocean. This is why Keep Golden Isles Beautiful is involving five other bordering counties for the project.

Three public service videos have been produced (stay tuned), radio PSAs and press releases were issued, and program signs are going up around participating business locations. And the program doesn’t stop there! The participating counties will have 81 cigarette ash receptacles placed in public spaces near the coastal shores.

The main event for this project is a coastal outreach taking place on Aug. 24. This event will take place at boat ramps and fishing piers. Additionally, about 27,000 messaged drink coasters will be in use at restaurants in Georgia’s coastal counties.

“Having these specific community partners joining together in a project of this magnitude is huge for our state,” said Keep Golden Isles Beautiful Executive Director Lea King-Badyna. “We really feel like this program can be easily copied by other coastal communities.”