Surfrider Foundation Backs “Butts Off Our Beaches Bill”

March 10, 2014, 3:51 PM HST · Updated March 11, 8:10 AM
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Photo by Wendy Osher.

Photo by Wendy Osher.

By Wendy Osher

The Surfrider Foundation Maui Chapter is among a list of advocacy groups publicly backing local legislation for tobacco-free beaches and parks in Maui County.

The “Butts Off Our Beaches Bill” was introduced by Council Member Don Guzman last month and is scheduled for a hearing in the Economic Development, Energy, Agriculture and Recreation Committee this Friday March 14, at 1:30 p.m.

Māla Boat Ramp, photo courtesy State of Hawaiʻi, Office of the Governor.

Māla Boat Ramp, photo courtesy State of Hawaiʻi, Office of the Governor.

The Surfrider Foundation plans to show a united front by entering the chamber together and submitting testimony in support of the bill when it surfaces, according to volunteer coordinators.

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The group also plans to collect and count cigarette butts this weekend during yet another cleanup effort, this time at Māla Wharf in West Maui from 9 to 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 15.

A similar cleanup led by the Surfrider Foundation in Kahului last month, led to the collection of 3,100 butts from Kahului Harbor in Central Maui.

The group also participated in the widely publicized island-wide cleanup led by the Maui District Student Council Organization in January in which 14,000 cigarette butts were collected in less than two hours at beaches across Maui.

Supporters of the legislation argue that cigarette butts are “toxic and are made of a form of plastic that is non-biodegradable.”

Groups that have contributed to the recent cleanup efforts include: the Maui District Student Council Organization, members of the Surfrider Foundation, youth from Maui Economic Opportunity, members of the Boys and Girls Club of Haʻikū, nursing students from the University of Hawaiʻi Maui College, and the Department of Health volunteers program.

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