Yesterday, I participated in another beach clean up at North Avenue Beach. This event was put on by Alliance for the Great Lakes Adopt-a-Beach Program and Barefoot Wine & Bubbly to help make our beaches barefoot friendly.
And were they barefoot friendly? No.
The amount of broken glass we picked up was startling. Even more startling was the excessive amount of cigarette butts I picked up.
Over 350 cigarette butts picked up by a 2 person team in just over an hour!
While my partner tallied and picked up other types of litter, I focused solely on collecting cigarette butts. I just continued counting and counting as I added more butts to the growing pile in my hand (I was wearing gloves, do not fear).
When we counted up our tally marks to reveal that we had over 300 cigarette butts in our trash bag, I was in shock! There were dozens of other teams too who may have picked up just as many.
In 2015, more than 52,600 cigarette butts were picked up at Chicago beaches, representing 27 percent of total litter found according to Alliance for Great Lakes data.
I just get really sad when I see people using our beaches (and our Earth) as an ashtray.
Luckily, the Alliance is putting a fun spin on properly disposing of cigarette butts.
Read more about their project here.