Love Dolores Teams Up with Surfrider to Call Attention to Cigarette Butt Litter

SAN FRANCISCO – Love Dolores and the Surfrider Foundation teamed up at Dolores Park today in honor of Earth Day and to call attention to the impact of cigarette litter on City parks. Cigarette butts are the most littered item in the United States and across the world, with 65 percent of all cigarettes ending up in streets, beaches, water sources, trails, and public parks, according to the Cigarette Litter Prevention Program, an initiative of Keep America Beautiful.

Love Dolores promoted the Surfrider Foundation’s Hold on to Your Butt campaign, which encourages smokers to properly dispose of their cigarette butts. A transparent mannequin cigarette butt container was on display to show the public how many cigarettes are littered in Dolores Park over a short period of time. Dolores Park Works contributed by passing out tins for park users to remove their butts.

Dolores Park fully opened in January after a $20.5 million renovation made possible by the 2008 Clean and Safe Neighborhood Parks Bond.

“There’s a significant amount of cigarette litter in Dolores Park,” said Phil Ginsburg, SF Rec & Park General Manager. “To truly love Dolores, park users need to pack out all of their trash, bring it to the bins on the curb, so that everyone can enjoy the park.”

The Surfrider Foundation, San Francisco chapter is an all-volunteer activist network that works to protect San Francisco’s oceans, waves, and beaches for all to enjoy. This was Surfrider’s third targeted cigarette butt cleanup at Dolores Park.

“Cigarette butts are plastic and highly toxic, leaching heavy metals into the soil and water,” said Shelly Ericksen, Surfrider San Francisco volunteer. “At our last Dolores cleanup, volunteers collected nearly 4,000 of these little bits of toxic waste, many of which were still lit. At any given time, we estimate that Dolores Park is littered with up to 10,000 cigarette butts. All roads lead to the ocean, and we aim to educate smokers that littering cigarette butts is unhealthy and unsafe for life on land and at sea.”

The Love Dolores Campaign, founded in Leave No Trace principles, has looked to address the trash problem at Dolores Park through outreach and education. In addition, recycling capacity has increased from 1344 gallons weekly to nearly 28,000 gallons; landfill capacity has increased by over 20,000 gallons weekly.

In honor of Earth Day, SF Rec & Park is also co-coordinating the following volunteer events:

Saturday April 23rd 10am-12:00pm

The Port of SF and Bay.Org is celebrating the 6th anniversary of the Eco-center’s Opening. SF Rec & Park is excited to support the celebration with extending the coastal clean-up to India Basin Shoreline Park in addition to providing the community with free fun mobile Rec activities from 11:00-2:00pm at India Basin Shoreline Park.

Wednesday April 27  12:00pm – 3:00pm

Bayview Park/California Native Plant Society Join members of the California Native Plant society in a weekly recurring volunteer work party focusing on habitat restoration at various park sites throughout San Francisco. Volunteer activities include weeding, planting, and general maintenance.

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