In the Works - Community Newsletter In the Works June 2017 - Page 23

We teamed up with Supervisors Katy Tang and Sandra Fewer to launch a pilot program aimed at reducing cigarette litter by placing butt receptacles in the Richmond and Sunset districts. The goal is to get smokers to stop using our sidewalks and streets as their ashtrays. Studies have found that cigarette butts are the most prevalent type of litter in San Francisco and they often are difficult to pick up because they get stuck in cracks and crevices. Not only are they unsightly blight on our neighborhoods but they also harm the environment, especially when they are washed down our sewer system and into the waterways. “Flicking cigarettes is a common habit and many people think cigarette filters are biodegradable,” said Shelly Ericksen of the Surfrider Foundation. “In fact, cigarette filters are made of tiny strands of cellulose acetate – the same plastic as your sunglasses. They are loaded with toxic chemicals, including arsenic, lead and cadmium, poisoning children and animals that mistake them for food. When those chemicals leach into our oceans and groundwater, they threaten the safety of the fish we eat and the water we drink.” The 6-month pilot program, which launched June 30, provided for the installation of 40 cigarette butt receptacles along Irving Street, Noriega Street, Balboa Street, Geary Boulevard and the Ocean Beach promenade. Public Works street cleaners will empty the pole-mounted cans. The Surfrider Foundation’s Butt Brigade conducted a cigarette butt count prior to the program kickoff, and will conduct counts during the pilot to see if they’ve been effective at reducing at cigarette detritus in the vicinity. If the experiment is deemed successful, we will look at adding butt cans to other commercial corridors throughout the City. June 2017 - San Francisco Public Works Newsletter