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Keep Liberty Beautiful: Annual cigarette litter prevention effort now underway
Karen Bell
Keep Liberty Beautiful Executive Director Karen Bell.

Dr. Karen Bell

Keep Liberty Beautiful

Entities in Georgia’s six coastal counties are continuing a joint battle against the nation’s No. 1 most-littered item: cigarette butts. 

Providing comprehensive coverage of Georgia’s coastal areas, Keep Liberty Beautiful, Keep Savannah Beautiful, Keep McIntosh Beautiful, Keep Camden Beautiful, Keep Pembroke Beautiful, Tybee Clean Beach Volunteers, the City of Tybee Island, the University of Georgia Marine Extension, the Georgia Sea Grant, and Keep Golden Isles Beautiful have again united in a coastwide cigarette litter awareness educational initiative: Georgia’s Coast Is Not an Ashtray.

Made of cellulose acetate, a type of plastic, cigarette butts do not easily biodegrade. Discarded butts have a negative impact as land litter, but once blown into storm drains or tossed directly into water sources, this toxic litter becomes marine debris, leaching chemicals into marine and aquatic environments and potentially being ingested by those inhabitants. With coastal Georgia’s proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, as well as its abundance of streams, rivers, lakes, creeks, salt and freshwater marshes and ponds, the coastwide initiative focuses on cigarette butts in relation to water bodies.

Funded by a $20,000 Keep America Beautiful cigarette litter prevention program grant, the latest initiative consists of cigarette waste receptacle placements, radio public service announcements, social media/video promotions, educational outreach, and messaged drink coaster outreach.

The combined five-year effort has resulted in more than 500 public space receptacles placed in coastal Georgia.

While simultaneous project-specific outreach activities will occur in all six coastal counties during the effort, community- specific outreach activities are encouraged as well. Liberty Beautiful, we cannot believe that this is the fifth year we get to work with the six surrounding coastal counties on spreading the message about Cigarette Litter Prevention,” said Dr. Karen Bell, Keep Liberty Beautiful Executive Director. “We are excited that with the grant from Keep America Beautiful, we can provide awareness information, drink coasters, stickers, T-shirts, and free cigarette waste receptacles to any business, church, restaurant or clubhouse that wishes to partner with us. All cigarette butts collected will be recycled to keep them off the ground and out of our water!”

For more information about the Georgia’s Coast Is Not an Ashtray program, contact Keep Liberty Beautiful at or 912-880-4888, or visit

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