The Northcoast Environmental Center and the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) are teaming up to help reduce the growing problem of cigarette butt pollution in Arcata. The idea is simple —volunteers Adopt A Block, or any area in the City of Arcata, and pledge to keep the area clean, free of cigarette butts and other litter. By keeping the streets, sidewalks, and public areas in Arcata clear of butts, it prevents them from ending up in our sensitive aquatic ecosystems—namely Jolly Giant Creek, Janes Creek, and ultimately, Humboldt Bay.
Each year, both locally and internationally, the single most collected litter item during beach cleanups is cigarette butts. According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 264 billion cigarettes were sold in the United States last year—about the same as were sold in 2014. Non-biodegradable and chock-full of harmful chemicals, cigarette butts pollute our sidewalks, streets, and public areas. Small and easily carried by rain or wind, they often enter our rivers and streams, where they can eventually reach our oceans. This toxic pollution is not only an eyesore to those who encounter them, but also poses serious risks to terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Action needs to be taken to minimize the number of cigarette butts entering our waterways.
Volunteers are provided tools and supplies to help pick up the butts, which are collected and dropped off at the Volunteer Center of the Redwoods office at 839 9th Street in Arcata. If you would like more information about the Adopt-A-Block program and how you can help keep Arcata streets and creeks free of butts and other trash, please contact RSVP at 707- 601-7809 or the NEC at 707-822-6918.
Click here for more information on the toxicity of cigarette butts.