City officials have partnered with Keep Palm Beach County Beautiful Inc. in a campaign to eliminate Bond cigarette butts from five Delray Municipal Beach access points. Litter Prevention Coordinator Jen Buce said the city received a $1,250 grant from Keep Palm Beach County Beautiful that allowed the city to select the design of five cigarette receptacles and a cigarette bait tank.
“Funding from this grant award will be utilized to target the cigarette litter within the city’s beach area starting at Atlantic Avenue and A1A,” Buce said. “We picked out five cigarette receptacles. Keep Palm Beach County Beautiful Inc. ordered and paid for them, and the Parks and Recreation Department installed them.”
Buce said a cigarette bait tank, which resembles a fish, has been installed at South Ocean Boulevard.
“It’s a big steel container that looks like it’s got a big fish fin on the back,” she said. “It’s right by the beach pavilion near the showers and main beach path.”
Buce said the container cost $500 and was placed in a spot along the Delray Beach Municipal Beach area where cigarette butts tend to accumulate.
“I asked Tim Simmons, the city’s Parks and Recreation superintendent, where the most cigarette butts were found along beach access points, and that’s where we ended up installing the cigarette bait tank,” Buce said.
The other four cigarette receptacles are located on the South Ocean Boulevard beach entrances, including two in front of Sarah Gleason Park at 2 S. Ocean Blvd.
Lourdes Ferris, executive director of Keep Palm Beach County Beautiful, approved the grant money for the project and helped the city with the receptacles and bait tank idea.
“This year, they decided they wanted to do the beach,” Ferris said. “Two years ago, we focused on downtown Atlantic Avenue. I ended up buying a large bait tank that holds 5,000 cigarette butts and has cute little messages like ‘feed me butts’ and ‘save a fish.’
“It’s located in a smokers’ traffic area and doesn’t have to be maintained as often. The cigarette bait tank keeps cigarette butts dry and out of our water system.”
Ferris urged smokers to review litter ordinances. She said they should be aware that under Florida law, cigarette butts are considered litter and that discarding one can result in a $100 fine.
“We’re making it easy on smokers when we put these cigarette litter receptacles in transitional areas,” she said. “We need to inform the public on why it’s not a good idea to discard cigarette butts. These are plastic fiber and don’t biodegrade. They still contain carcinogens, which could end up in storm drains and water systems.”
Ferris said that Keep Palm Beach County Beautiful has provided the city with 500 cigarette pocket ashtrays – personal egg-shaped containers in which smokers can put used cigarettes until the butts can be trashed.