The fourth annual Butt Blitz runs Saturday in Canada.
Volunteers will be picking up cigarette butts in Vernon, and 21 other communities, and sending them to a Toronto company to be recycled.
Local coordinator Jack Elliman says over 223,000 butts were picked up last year around the country.
“Cigarette butts are the world’s most littered item. People have no idea that it is literally toxic waste. An estimated 4.95 trillion are littered world wide every year,” Elliman tells Beach Radio News.
Elliman says the butts costs the taxpayers millions of dollars, fighting wildfires and clean-up efforts.
“They poison fish, birds, children, wildlife in general. They get them all plugged up in their bellies and they can eat. One butt contaminates 40 litres of water with all sorts of nasty chemicals,” adds Elliman.
Elliman says 7,587 butts were picked up last year in Vernon.
“That was just with a few people — and a few hours — so we could easily pick up way more than that.”
Vernon’s Butt Blitz will start at 11 Saturday morning at Cenotaph Park, and run to 2 pm, with anyone welcome to take part.
Gloves and bags will be provided.
“It’s gonna be a ton of fun because we are going to use the The Vancouver Butt Touchers method (a Vancouver group that holds fun focused cigarette butt clean up events regularly),” says Elliman. “There will be music, probably some silly dancing while picking up butts, and competitions with prizes for who has the best squat and reach, most butts touched, and most valuable rookie.”
Elliman says they will move around Vernon, cleaning up major smoking locations.
“If you come after 11am call me at 250 938 4202 and I’ll tell you where we’re at so we can link up. Feel free to bring some old kitchen tongs or your favorite garbage picking tool for easy butt picking.”
Elliman makes ‘Pocket Ashtrays’ which will be handed out for free by event coordinators in each location to help prevent future littering.