Fredericksburg parks get new cigarette butt disposal containers
Thanks to a recent donation, the City of Fredericksburg’s Clean and Green Commission, the Rapppahannock Regional Solid Waste Management Board (R-Board), and Fredericksburg’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Events partnered to acquire and install 30 new cigarette butt disposal containers in popular City parks to help reduce cigarette butt litter. These new receptacles were provided to the City by the Richmond-based organization Keep Virginia Beautiful. The containers will be located at City Dock, Hurkamp Park, Old Mill Park, Alum Spring Park and Motts Run Reservoir.
You may have seen the “Butts are Litter, Too!” signs and buckets around town as part of the ongoing campaign to reduce cigarette butt litter. “Cigarette butts are the single most littered item in the world,” said Robert Courtnage, chairman of the City’s Clean and Green Commission. “As the filters are made mostly of plastic, they don’t degrade in the environment. When dropped on the street or in the park they can be swept into storm drains by the rain and into the Rappahannock River where they are eaten by fish and birds who mistake them for food.”
Littering is also a criminal offense in the City. The Fredericksburg Police Department strictly enforces the littering code. According to Officer Joe Young, the City’s Watershed Manager, “A cigarette butt that is tossed on the sidewalk could cost you up to $2,500, a conviction of a class-one misdemeanor, lost wages, and court costs. That’s a pretty expensive cigarette.”
To help educate residents and visitors on the importance of keeping cigarette butts in the ash receptacles where they belong, the Clean and Green Commission, R-Board and City of Fredericksburg are kicking off a “Please Butt In” event on Monday, June 24th from 3:00pm to 4:30pm. “Our goal is to heighten awareness of the need for citizens to dispose of cigarettes properly and encourage volunteers to help adopt a block and keep cigarettes out of the Rappahannock River,” said City Councilor Kerry Devine, who also is the liaison to the City’s Clean and Green Commission.
The public is invited to meet in Market Square located at 907 Princess Anne St. at 3:00pm on June 24th. Individuals and volunteer groups will be given a small plastic bag containing a pair of plastic gloves and an assignment card. The volunteers will fan out to their assignments, picking up cigarette butts along the way. Volunteers will have an hour to collect as many butts on city sidewalks as they can find! The cleanup event will end at City Dock on Sophia Street, where a celebration of the new cigarette disposal units will take place.