We walked through Grand Haven State Park for an hour and a half. Part of the project was to count debris for recording purposes for the Alliance. We had 447 cigarette butts. These were just the ones on the surface, covering a small area, in a small amount of time. Think how many are under the shifting sand!
The purpose of this letter is not to talk to smokers about health issues. They know the facts. Rather it is to share with smokers that the beach belongs to all of us. If we saw people leaving cans, bottles, or papers on the beach, we have all been programmed to know that this is unacceptable and probably would speak up. When did it become OK for cigarette butts to be cast aside on our beaches? Have we become so conditioned to seeing butts laying along the curbs, on sidewalks, at entrances of buildings or watching people throw butts out of car windows that we no longer react?
The governor has proposed a ban on smoking at state beaches under his new health initiative. (Smoking is also allowed at Grand Haven City Beach.) This is important, but smoking should also be banned because we have evidence from this clean-up collection and other data that supports that cigarette butts are negatively impacting the quality of our environment.
I know smokers will read this letter with anger because you have already been affected by laws and regulations as to where you can or cannot smoke. Please remember, however, that this is about the greater good; people who have chosen not to smoke should not be exposed to your smoke or your litter. Thank you for pinching the burning ash and placing the filter in your pocket. Thank you for carrying a small container to transport your cigarette remains. Thank you for using available trash receptacles. Thank you for your help making our beaches and our city even more beautiful!
— Sandy Huber, Grand Haven