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Tahoe Conservationists to Install 250 Cigarette Butt Canisters Around the Lake

Photo: League to Save Lake Tahoe

A recent Lake Tahoe beach cleanup organized by the League to Save Lake Tahoe found thousands of cigarette butts lining the lake. With that cleanup, on top of the more than 27,600 butts that have been collected this year, conservationists were inspired to act.

The League to Save Lake Tahoe are teaming with the Tahoe Water Supplies Association to install 250 cigarette butt canisters around the lake, with hopes that the dreadful problem can be diminished. The canisters will be installed in 2019 on the north and south shores of the lake, with hopes of finding an “owner” of each canister to watch over it, much like the “Adopt a Highway” program. The bins were obtained through a Keep America Beautiful grant program.

“With the help of these new cigarette butt canisters, it will be easy for everyone to properly dispose of cigarette butts and Keep Tahoe Blue,” said Marilee Movius, the league’s community engagement manager.

Photo: League to Save Lake Tahoe

Cigarette butts are not only an eyesore in our beautiful outdoor destinations, they also can harm the water and wildlife in the area. It’s estimated that 98 percent of cigarette filters are made of plastic fibers, meaning they are not biodegradable. The plastics can harm wildlife, pollute the water and pose a wildfire risk.

The canisters, which are designed to be highly visible, will be strategically installed in “hot spot” areas and will be analyzed for their daily use.

“Using data from the League’s past cleanups, canisters will first be installed in partnership with land managers at hot spots or areas known to generate significant cigarette butt litter,” said Jesse Patterson, chief strategy officer for the League. “We want to deploy as many canisters as possible, as quickly as possible to the areas most in need, and we need the public to help us make this program a success.”

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