MARQUETTE - While the smoking ban for restaurants and bars may have cleared up the air in the area's businesses, it has also had one unintended consequence - increasing the number of cigarette butts on Marquette's beaches.
When beachgoers come across cigarette butts on the sand of their favorite swimming area they might think the litter comes from those who smoke on the beach.
"Most of it is not," said Vicki Baldini of the Superior Watershed Partnership. "It's coming from the city streets ... through the storm sewers."
Marquette businesses and organizations can take part in helping to clean up area beaches by simply providing a place to dispose of cigarette butts for outside smokers. The Superior Watershed Partnership and the Marquette County Community Foundation are providing red buckets filled with sand free of charge to area businesses for the cigarette butts. (Journal photo by Danielle Pemble)
With smokers who were previously able to smoke inside moving outside, there is often no place for the cigarette butts to go but into the street, where they are washed away through storm sewers and out into Lake Superior where they wash up on beaches, Baldini said.
To help cut down on the amount of litter on the beaches, the SWP through a grant from the Marquette County Community Foundation is providing red sand-filled buckets at no charge to area businesses and organizations to provide a place for patrons to dispose of their cigarette butts.
"If you're sitting in the street and you flick your cigarette butt, it (seems like it) shouldn't make a difference, but it makes a big difference," Baldini said.
The buckets can be picked up at the Superior Watershed Partnership office located at the Presque Isle Park on Peter White Drive.
Provided with the bucket is sand and a scoop so that business owners can clean out the buckets when they get filled up.
"I think it follows up on the Watershed Partnership's campaign to get the cigarette butts off the beaches," said Maura Davenport, a board member for both the SWP and the MCCF. "I think this campaign shows a collaboration between community organizations to keep our beaches clean."
For more information on the project, contact the SWP at 906-228-6095 or visit www.superiorwatersheds.org.
Johanna Boyle can be reached at 906-486-4401. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.