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Maui Cleanup Nets 14,000 Cigarette Butts in Two Hours

Students and Teachers from high schools across island chipped in to clean Hana Bay, Baldwin Beach, Kahului Harbor, Waiehu, Olowalu, Canoe Beach and Sugar Beach.  When Maui's High School students counted all the cigarette butts they had collected, the total came to over 14,000 cigarette butts collected in just two hours. Courtesy photo. [1]

Students and Teachers from high schools across island chipped in to clean Hāna Bay, Baldwin Beach, Kahului Harbor, Waiehu, Olowalu, Hanakaʻōʻō Beach and Sugar Beach.   Courtesy photo.

By Wendy Osher

More than 14,000 cigarette butts were collected in less than two hours during a recent island-wide cleanup effort hosted by the Maui District Student Council Organization [2].

The effort was aimed at reducing the amount of second-hand smoke and toxic litter on Maui’s beaches, and included cleanup efforts at Hāna Bay, Baldwin Beach, Kahului Harbor, Waiehu, Olowalu, Hanakaʻōʻō Beach and Sugar Beach.

The cleanup took place on Sunday, Jan. 12, with the support of the Surfrider Foundation Maui Chapter, the Coalition for a Tobacc0-Free Hawaiʻi, Mālama Maui Nui, and Sustainable Coastlines.

Students and Teachers from high schools across island chipped in to clean Hana Bay, Baldwin Beach, Kahului Harbor, Waiehu, Olowalu, Canoe Beach and Sugar Beach.  When Maui's High School students counted all the cigarette butts they had collected, the total came to over 14,000 cigarette butts collected in just two hours. Courtesy photo. [3]

When Maui’s High School students counted all the cigarette butts they had collected, the total came to over 14,000 cigarette butts collected in just two hours. Courtesy photo.

After collecting the cigarette butts, students and local leaders presented their findings to members of the Maui County Council.

The Maui County Council is taking a look at a Tobacco-Free Beaches and Parks policy, which will be introduced Friday, Feb 21, according to Sonya Niess, Maui Coordinator for The Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawai`i.

Already this session, South Maui lawmaker Kaniela Ing introduced a bill at the state level that seeks to ban smoking on all public beaches [4] in Hawaiʻi.

“In addition to the health risks to smokers and risks caused by second-hand smoke, cigarette butts are still the primary cause of litter in Hawaiʻi,” said Ing in a legislative press release upon introducing the bill. “Smoke-free beaches will preserve the aesthetics of our shoreline, promote the health of beach goers, and protect our delicate marine ecosystems,” he said.

House Bill 325 is scheduled to be decided by the House Committee on Water and Land, and the House Committee on Ocean Marine Resources and Hawaiian Affairs on Friday, Feb. 7, at 9 a.m. in House conference room 325.