Eight members of the Long County Family Connection Partnership Youth Advisory Council and two basketball players picked up more than 1,400 cigarette butts from the Long County Recreation Park during the recent “Cigarette Butt Pick-Up/Pick-Up Game with the Savannah Storm” event.
The event, sponsored by the Long County Health Department and Coastal Health District, was designed to raise awareness about the dangers of cigarette filters.
“Cigarette butts littering the ground aren’t just an eye sore; they can also be a hazard to the environment,” said Cristina Gibson, director of health promotion and disease prevention for the Coastal Health District.
Cigarette filters are made of a non-biodegradable plastic that may take decades to break down. They also contain hazardous chemicals and toxins that can seep into the environment, causing a negative impact on the food chain which could result in damage to commercial fisheries and water supplies.
In addition, cigarettes can be mistaken as food by animals, fish and small children.
“Basically, nothing good comes from throwing away a cigarette butt outside,” said Gibson. “It was really an eye-opener that not only we were able to collect that many butts at a recreation park in only one hour, but many of those were collected on the playground and near the baseball field dugouts.”