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10/18/2012

Volunteers to make a difference by picking up cigarette butts Oct. 27

Contact

Karen Llewellyn, Public Works
Phone: (360) 397-6118 ext. 1627
Karen.Llewellyn@clark.wa.gov

Hailey Heath, City of Vancouver
Phone: (360) 487-8316
Hailey.Heath@cityofvancouver.us

Vancouver, WA – Estimates indicate that cigarette butts and other tobacco products account for 32 percent of litter in the nation’s parks and other outdoor recreation areas.

At 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 27, volunteers will assemble at Luke Jensen Sports Park, 4000 N.E. 78th St., for “The Butt Stops Here” cleanup, one of several events planned for national “Make a Difference Day.”

Following a short orientation, volunteers will break into small groups and fan out to parks and public areas in Vancouver and Clark County in search of cigarette butts and other litter. At 12:30 p.m., they will return to the sports park to weigh bags of cigarette butts and litter. Food will be served from 12:30 to 1 p.m.

Contrary to popular belief, cigarette butts are not biodegradable. About 95 percent of a cigarette filter consists of cellulose acetate, a plastic that can take years to biodegrade. Discarded butts contain chemicals carried by storm runoff into streams, rivers and wetlands, where they can harm fish and other aquatic life.

“Not only are cigarette butts an eyesore, but they are an environmental hazard,” said Karen Llewellyn, volunteer coordinator for Clark County Public Works. “Last year, it was both impressive and discouraging to see how many cigarette butts volunteers could pick up in only a few hours. We hope these events will encourage smokers to keep cigarette butts off the ground.”

Volunteers are urged to bring their own gloves, but gloves and garbage bags will be provided. Please dress for the weather and wear sturdy, closed-toe shoes.

Volunteers can sign up at parkhero.org, a website serving the county and city.

Other “Make a Difference Day” events are scheduled Oct. 27. The Vancouver Public Works Greenway/Sensitive Lands Team will partner with the Vancouver Watersheds Alliance an upslope restoration project along Burnt Bridge Creek at Leverich Community Park. Volunteers can register by calling the Vancouver Watersheds Alliance at (360) 852-9189.

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